‘Text talk’ comes through in exams

2017-03-21 06:03
Children spend more time on digital devices and less time on proper verbal communication. Photos: Kalisha Naicker

Children spend more time on digital devices and less time on proper verbal communication. Photos: Kalisha Naicker

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FROM the age of two, toddlers are swiping iPad screens or cell phones, gurgling at images. At four they can choose songs that they want to listen to or videos they want to watch.
At six they can type messages and download the latest games. When they reach the teens, they demand the latest gadgets and verbal communication has declined significantly.

Although parents feel their children have lost all sense of face-to-face communication and texting has taken over, who is to blame for this behaviour?

A mother of a six-year-old Grade 1 pupil, Cheryl Chetty said she feels parents are to blame for their children’s “anti-social” behaviour.

“When my daughter was two I used to download videos and eBooks on my iPad and use them to entertain her until she fell asleep. To make matters worse, I even bought her a children’s Tablet for one of her birthdays.

“When I heard her speak ‘text language’ while talking to me, I was furious with myself for letting it get so far. She expressed herself by saying ‘lol’ [laugh out loud] and OMG [oh my God], and I had to explain to her that it is not the way people speak.”

Chetty said she let the digital revolution take over her family and hopes parents think twice when buying gadgets for their children before teaching them verbal communication first.

Primary school teacher, Sheena Lukhan said that parents should not be giving into the demands of their children for the latest gadgets.

“When I mark compositions, I see a lot of text language and we have to mark the child down. This impacts on their English marks and if one fails English, they fail the exam.

“In my opinion a child should not have a cell phone. In our school there is no need for one. If a child needs to call their parents, they can go to the office. Children need to get back to ‘old school’ communication that way parents can keep track of who the child is talking to,” said Lukhan.

Does your child spend a lot of time on their cell phone or do you have any tips for parents that will encourage verbal communication with their children? Email your comments to Kalisha.naicker@media24.com



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