Is the Internet Turning Kids Into Terrible Spellers?
Time magazine, citing a paper just released by the English Spelling Society, reports the Internet could be turning our children into a bunch of illiterate idiots. Or "idyuts," as the kids would "prolly" write in their text messages.
"The increasing use of variant spellings on the Internet has been brought about by people typing at speed in chat rooms and on social networking sites where the general attitude is that there isn't a need to correct typos or conform to spelling rules," the paper says.
OMG! And you know the worst part? Kids often never encounter the actual spelling of words because they resort to asinine Internet abbreviations and insipid emoticons, which is really :( when you think about it.
Time reports that researchers for the English Spelling Society surveyed 18- to 24-year-olds and found one in five of them would not feel comfortable writing an important e-mail without a dictionary or electronic spelling checker.
But there's another spelling solution, favored by two-thirds of the young people surveyed: Just change the dictionary.
Put in all the stupid -- er, "alternative" -- spellings in the dictionary and call it good.
All this seems a pretty aggressive effort for the sake of people who are unlikely to ever see the inside of a dictionary -- or would care what's in there, anyway. But changing reality to conform with shortcomings (rather than vice versa) may be the wave of the future.
"Accurate spelling is of the utmost importance, but from this most recent survey we can conclude that the unprecedented reach and scale of the Internet has given rise to new social practices and it is now an agent in spelling change," Jack Bovill, chair of the English Spelling Society, tells Time.
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.