Is texting harmful to children?
Yes, texting is harmful to children, according to writer Sir Terry Pratchett. In fact, he believes that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as sending text messages from a smartphone, are inhibiting children’s ability to communicate properly.
Moreover, Terry believes that children’s rough behaviour may also be connected with this need to use social media.
The author said: “Kids now seem unmotivated. Social media is not helping and texting certainly isn’t.
You have to have interaction with other people. If you have the words to identify exactly what you mean, you can get your message across. I’m sure this is linked to rough behaviour.”
While controversial, his views have been backed by an educational psychologist, Dr Kairen Cullen. Dr Cullen argues that while using social media sites such as Twitter increase the access for children to other children, this access is via a computer screen and not face-to-face. As such, it is impossible for children to understand properly what is happening during the communication process, particularly since they generally have limited verbal language skills.
Dr. Cullen also added that texting “does not allow children to build up patience and time keeping.”
Sir Terry Pratchett is also concerned with how language is being altered as result of ‘text speak’, which involves shortening words and even using one letter to represent a word.
However, recent research also suggested that children’s spelling was actually improved by texting.
No doubt these arguments will continue.