The survey results come from a new study out by the Pew Internet and American Life Project--"Writing, Technology, and Teens." The researchers conducted focus groups and a national telephone survey of 700 parent-child pairs in the fall of 2007.
Here are some of the results:
- "85% of teens ages 12-17 engage at least occasionally in some form of electronic personal communication, which includes text messaging, sending email or instant messages, or posting comments on social networking sites." [They were twice as likely to send text messages as they were e-mail]
- "60% of teens do not think of these electronic texts as “writing.”"
- "50% of teens say they sometimes use informal writing styles instead of proper capitalization and punctuation in their school assignments"
- "38% say they have used text shortcuts in school work such as “LOL”"
- "25% have used emoticons (symbols like smiley faces ☺) in school work"
- "86% of teens believe good writing is important to success in life"
- "82% of teens feel that additional in-class writing time would improve their writing abilities and 78% feel the same way about their teachers using computer-based writing tools"
If one thing is made clear by this survey, it's not that teens don't think writing is important. It's that we may be in for a slight evolution in our written language. We may need to re-think the answer to this question: What is good writing?