01/07/13 — Writing warning: Technology is taking toll on students' skills

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Writing warning: Technology is taking toll on students' skills

If you have a teenager -- or a wanna-be teenager -- you know.

The cell phone is the new pen and ink.

In fact, it is also the new voice -- and an appropriate substitute in the minds of the younger generation for personal interaction.

Youths today would much rather text than speak -- even, sometimes, if they are in the same room.

And place a pencil and a piece of paper in front of them and they are more than a little nervous -- especially if there is a time limit.

Harmless? Just another example of the older generation getting its hackles up as change takes over the world? Perhaps.

But what these children are missing is a critical skill -- the ability to communicate.

And that is why the basics are becoming even more important in the curriculum of the county schools.

Cursive writing might seem like an antiquated extra, but it is really a chance to ground our children in the possibility that technology isn't the only skill they will need as they move forward.

Making them form letters rather than type them on a keyboard is as important as making them use a dictionary rather than Google.

The next step should be convincing them that there are better ways to share information other than Facebook or that every move they make is not appropriate for Twitter.

That one might take a while.

Published in Editorials on January 7, 2013 10:29 AM