Holding a parent’s phone is one of the first things young children learn how to do while growing up. Soon after that they are taught how to call and send text messages to family members.
Texting lingo may be harming teenagers’ ability to develop language and grammar skills, experts said to Daily Mail.
Professor Jane Mellanby, director of the Oxford Group For Children’s Potential at Oxford University, said that the ability to understand and use complex language was essential for academic attainment, leaving youngsters without these skills at a serious disadvantage.
Some of her research included text messages from a 13 year old like, “OMG ikr,” which means “Oh my God, I know right” and messages from a 21 year old like, “Yo dude r u still coming to party Friday?’”
“These sentences do not contain grammar, and certainly not complex grammar,” Mellanby said. “For youngsters who already struggle with language structure, a reliance on textspeak could compound the problem.”
Children’s Advocacy Center of Johnson County Executive Director Tammy King said children and teens usually use text slang for two reasons.
“One is simply to save time by not having to type out full words and sentences,” King said. “Kids understand all the slang and acronyms being heavily used, while many adults may not. That leads into the second reason kids use slang or code. They don’t want their parents to know what they are discussing.
“For instance, ‘P11’ or ‘POS’ is code for parent nearby or parent over my shoulder. There are literally hundreds of codes that are being used. Again, some are totally innocent while others are used to keep information hidden from parents or guardians.”
Parents need to challenge their children to spend time reading and learning to articulate their thoughts in a proper way, she said.
“If not, our kids will lose the art of communication,” she said. “This is problematic on many levels. Having young people that text while in the same room rather than speaking to each other is becoming common.
“It is becoming harder for kids to master social situations where they need to communicate their needs, thoughts or feelings. This can lead to our kids really battling a sense of not being understood.”
On a whole other level, she said children who are engaging in high-risk behaviors can use slang or codes to plan something right under their parents’ nose.
“They can quickly end up in situations that get them in over their head,” she said. “Parents need to become educated as much as possible on these slang words. They also need to really encourage their kids to pick up a really good book on a regular basis. When all is said and done ‘Readers are Leaders.’”