Is the Internet Really Bad for Today’s Generation’s Literacy Skills?
A POSITION PAPER BY: Philline Lopez
April 8, 2013
The internet has been one of the – if not the most - major advancements in technology that this century had to offer. It has opened us to countless possibilities and it paved way for an easier means of communication and information-access. The internet is considered the largest information base. Because of the internet, access to information has become less problematic. Typing a word on a search engine can give you thousands of results that are related and somewhat relevant to your search query. Indeed, information has become just one click away. The Internet also provides us with efficient means of communication. Emails allow people separated by great seas to be in touch. Social Networking and Blogging have become a platform for discussion. We depend on the internet for updates and current news. Unknowingly, the internet has become an integral part of our lives (Oak).
The internet has affected various aspects of human lives. One of them would be literacy. Literacy is defined as the state of being literate or having the ability to make and communicate from the use of variety of socially contextual symbols (Bridgew.edu). In simpler terms, it is the ability to read and write. As much as literacy is usually associated with just the ability to read, we must be informed that writing and critical thinking are just as important in literacy. The increasing popularity of the internet has given rise to novel forms of literary presentation and self-expression. On the other hand, some believe that the internet harms the literacy skills of people, especially of children because they are more exposed to these online activities. Undoubtedly, a better understanding on the Internet’s impact on literacy, especially those of children, can give valuable insight into the future of the written word.
Looking back in history, we can see that literacy and technology change together. With technological advances in the past such as the invention of the printing press and typewriters, the availability of literary works has increased. Copies of books could be written and distributed easily (Saez). Now, with the internet, writing and distributing of essays, stories and various forms of literature have even increased dramatically. They are afterall shared and accessed easily.
A study conducted by the National Literacy Trust found that writing blogs and being active in social networking sites helped enhance the confidence of children in their writing abilities. It also helped change the attitude of these children towards writing for the better. The survey of more than 3,000 children between nine and sixteen revealed that of these respondents, 49% consider writing as boring. However, students who use blogs found writing more enjoyable than those who do not have blogs, as seen from the results where 60% of the bloggers really enjoy writing and only 40% of non-bloggers actually find writing entertaining (Norman).
The study also revealed that students with blogs or are active in social networks have greater confidence in their writing ability than those who do not. Sixty percent of those who do blogging claimed to have “good” writing skills while only about 47 percent had the same claim for those who don’t use online formats. Having a blog also has an effect on the writing behavior of the children and teenagers. It was found out that youngsters who are active online have a greater probability of keeping a journal, writing short stories, letters or song (Teachers.ab).
Raising one’s self esteem is very important, be it in writing or in any other things. When you don’t have any self-confidence, you won’t even start doing something, probably thinking that you’ll just embarrass yourself. But what about your potential to actually make a difference...
References: “Can Social Networking Boost Literacy Skills?” Teachers.ab.ca. Alberta Teachers Association. 2010. Web.March
Clark, Laura. 2009. “Books Left on the Shelf: A Fifth of Pupils Only Read Blogs and Magaines.” Daily Mail (London, England).
Debnam, Mio. “Is the Standard of Children’s Literacy Declining Because of Testing or Online Social Networking?” November 26, 2010. Web. March 25, 2013.
MacLeod, Fiona. 2008. “Texts, Blogs and Facebook: The New Literacy.” The Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland).
Norman, Katie. 2009. “Facebook Can Help To Improve Writing Skills: Networking Boosts Ability and Confidence.” Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales).
Oak, Manali. “Positive Effects of the Internet.” Buzzle.com. 2013. Web. March 27, 2013.
Saex, Alex. “The Internet 's Effects on Literacy” eHow.com . Web. March 25, 2013
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