Monday, June 23, 2014

Corrupted Communication

Did you know that our communication skills are being corrupted? No, it’s not some foreign government; it’s our teenage children and our education system.

Verbal Communications

We are slowly losing our ability to communicate without the assistance of an electronic device. I was out to dinner recently and noticed two young couples sitting at a table near me with their heads bowed. At first I thought they were saying grace until I noticed that each one of them was using cell phones. There was only limited verbal conversation during the meal.

Or maybe you have seen the commercial where the grandmother gives her grandson a graduation gift? He is standing no more than a couple of feet directly in front of her and he texts her “Thank You” rather than simply saying thank you verbally.

Verbal communication is not the only communication being impacted by the technology revolution.

Written Communications

Written communications are also being attacked. Our society is quickly losing its ability to communicate via cursive writing. For the most part an elementary student today probably can’t write in cursive, much less read it. However, sit one in front of a computer and he is a whiz. More than 40 states no longer require public schools to teach cursive reading and writing but they do emphasize computer skills since this is how tests are administered.

This was brought to light in the murder trial of George Zimmerman. When witness Rachel Jeantel was asked to read a letter in court, she responded, “I don’t read cursive.” She was unable to read the letter because she had never been taught cursive reading and writing.

Texting is replacing the spoken word, and abbreviations are replacing the written word. When my granddaughter sends me a text, I usually have to ask her to decipher the abbreviations sprinkled among the English words. I know a few abbreviations like OMG and LOL, but there are literally hundreds of others.

Before you answer my question at the end of the blog, here are some things you might want to consider:

  •         A recent study showed that many people with cell phones prefer texting over a phone call. This creates a communication divide between the talkers and the texters.
  •         Americans ages 18 to 29 receive an average of 88 text messages per day, compared to only 17 phone calls.
  •         The number of text messages sent each month has sky rocketed from 14 billion in 2000 to 188 billion in 2010, according to a Pew Institute survey.
  •         The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), for the most part, requires a cursive signature on financial documents and will not accept printed signatures.
  •         Cursive writing is usually faster and more efficient than printed writing.
  •         The need to teach both print and cursive writing has been questioned by the teaching community.
  •         Very few adults use cursive as their day-to-day writing.
  •         Most of our communication is done by keyboard or printing.
  •         Experts say that cursive handwriting training for young children may help develop hand-eye coordination, refine motor skills, and other brain memory functions.

Is cursive reading and writing needed in today’s world where smart phones, iPads, and laptops rule the communications world?  Are your communication skills being corrupted? What do you think?


  1. In the future this may have an effect on how the language is used too, could texting change or enhance language to be more efficient?