Can text message slang make or break your child's literacy? Here's what we found out

Posted at 8:51 PM, Oct 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-21 17:17:21-04

We live in a fast-paced world where even communication is being sped up with the use of abbreviations and text message slang.

Can it affect your child's education and overall literacy is the question.

Whitney Duboe, a Killeen mom of three, said it is becoming the norm in her family.

“I think we’ve all developed the habit," she said. "I’m a mom and my kids have phones, and we use social media lingo with each other. It’s an evolved way of communicating where it's faster, more relatable. It fits with the times we’re living in where everything is digitalized.”

Nevertheless, Dr. Bruce Bowles Jr. — director of the Texas A&M University Central Texas' writing center — said it can impact a student if they don't understand their audience.

In other words, slang that is acceptable through text message like 'Yh', 'Omg' and 'Idk' are not acceptable in a resume or cover letter.

“Yes, you know abbreviations like omg are completely acceptable in a text message, but they aren’t acceptable in an academic paper," he said.

The question now is how do you coach your student or child to have that automatic switch when it comes to texting friends versus writing an academic paper. Young adults send an average of 109.5 text messages a day, so it'll be no surprise if the habit creeps into academia by students unconsciously.

"It all boils down to encouraging students to write for their intended audience, using all of their creative abilities and diverse languages," he said.