Text Speak is Creating a Barrier Between Children and Their Parents and Teachers

Text Speak is Creating a Barrier Between Children and Their Parents and Teachers

A poll of parents and teachers found that a majority of 89 per cent believe the growing use of text speak to be the equivalent of a language barrier between them and children.

Two-thirds of teachers say that essays or pieces of homework routinely contain a piece of newspeak, such as Gr8 or LOL.

Similarly 76 per cent of parents said that they regularly require their kids to clarify the contents of a text message or email.  Parents report that this is the case in texts from kids as young as eight.

One parent received a text from her eight-year-old which read: “Mum can M8 cotch at yard” which translates as “Mum, can my friend sleep over at our house this evening?”

Text speak is also presenting difficulties when it comes to teaching children how to spell correctly. To tackle this, the challenges to good spelling are being flagged during this year’s annual Spellathon run by Mencap and sponsored by Del Monte Fruit Burst.

Frans Van Melis, Vice President at Del Monte said: “The difficulty is that a lot of text speak is creeping into work that kids are doing in the classroom. 

“Spelling has become much more fluid than it used to be which, on one level, is good but, on another, doesn’t help with academic attainment.”

Bizarre spellings taken from text speak:
(source: Del Monte Fruit Burst poll / teachers’ examples from kids’ essays and homework)

After - Rfd

Tonight - 2nite

Great - Gr8

Before - B4

Tomorrow - 2moro

Cool - Kwl

Mate - M8

Pizza - Peetsa

True - Churoo

That - Dat

Del Monte Fruit Burst is the sponsor of the Mencap School Spellathon, the UK’s biggest online spelling bee which is hosted by the animated character Professor Bee, voiced by Stephen Fry. The initiative sees schools compete with the chance to win £10,000 in prize money.

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