Forget safety or motivation – the real reason to give a child a cell phone is to promote literacy. Newsweek reports that though many parents and English teachers worry that texting is the downfall of standard English, linguistic studies show a link between fluent texting and literacy skills:
In one British experiment last year, children who texted—and who wielded plenty of abbreviations—scored higher on reading and vocabulary tests. In fact, the more adept they were at abbreviating, the better they did in spelling and writing. Far from being a means to getting around literacy, texting seems to give literacy a boost.
Kids who got cell phones earliest had the highest scores. Language skills build upon language exposure – of any kind – says David Crystal, author of Txtng: the Gr8 Db8, who studied texting language and found it both not very deviant and part of the on-going evolution of language.
As long as kids learn how to code-switch, or choose the appropriate form of language for a given situation, we can accept – or even embrace – the ways they play with language on their cell phones.
(Via Joanne Jacobs)
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