Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
5/26/2005
08:51 PM
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Are Kids Today New And Improved Communicators, Or Just A New Breed Of Stenographers?

After spending a couple of days this week surrounded by dozens of teens and tweens at a WiredKids summit in D.C., it became pretty clear to me that many of our young devote an awful lot of time to writing.

After spending a couple of days this week surrounded by dozens of teens and tweens at a WiredKids summit in D.C., it became pretty clear to me that many of our young devote an awful lot of time to writing.It's not extra time spent on essays or poems, or even school assignments, but rather on E-mail and instant messaging, and in many instances, blogs and message boards. As the parent of three kids, including a teenager and a tween, I suppose I already noticed that kids today communicate by "writing" to each other more than I did with friends when I was their age.

But until this week's conference, I guess I didn't fully realize how often kids write to communicate with each other. Maybe I was just too busy E-mailing colleagues, friends, relatives, and associates to notice.

Afterall, AOL this week released findings of an E-Mail Addiction Survey, and the title pretty much reveals the results. According to AOL, E-mail users rely on E-mail as much as the phone to communicate. Maybe that's not a big surprise. But did you know that 40% of the 4,000 E-mail users surveyed admit checking their E-mail in the middle of the night. Luckily, I'm not an insomniac.

All this writing that's going on with the kids, however, isn't necessarily the kind that will turn Junior into Mark Twain or convince Suzy to be an English major, especially since much of this typing consists of codes and shorthand, like LOL (laugh out loud) and BRB (be right back), which aren't exactly exercises in good grammar or spelling.

However, it does make me wonder if tomorrow's generation of adults are somehow developing new lifelong behaviors, molding themselves early into becoming more honest communicators, people more willing and open to share what they're "really" thinking and feeling.

The immediate nature of E-mail, and especially IM, elicit quick reactions. Are the responses always well thought-out? Probably not. Are they impulsive? Probably often.

But good or bad, they are also likely to come from a place in the gut that even a phone call won't connect.

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