The Internet is simultaneously one of the best and most destructive human inventions we have come across. It can bring people together who would otherwise never be in contact, but it also intensifies the isolated lifestyle of Internet bloggers and web surfers.
How the Internet helps
The World Wide Web brings us into contact with a greater variety of writing and communication than we used to experience, so we can understand the literature of other countries and continents which we otherwise wouldn’t have come into contact with. This is a combination of newer writing styles and older, traditional styles which would have been at risk of dying out.
These styles are important for teaching different cultural methods of communication both formal and informal styles and help to broaden experience and understanding for growing and developing teenagers.
It also gives the opportunity to engage in some form of online communication by adding to message boards and blogging. These Internet communities can teach different ways of reaching and writing for different audiences, as well as different foreign languages and issues of cultural diversity; and also allows students to search the Internet for vocabulary and grammar.
How the Internet destroys
Like texting, the Internet doesn’t always require a formal writing style. Unfortunately, many of the pupils I teach in secondary school now think that it’s okay write exam answer like, “I fink U R right B coz U thought it B4 me.” They have no real concept of correct spellings and think that spelling and grammar is unimportant because most people speak to each other in the modern world.
Similarly, sentences and paragraphs are also made redundant by teenagers who feel that they are increasingly irrelevant. The Internet, along with mobile phones, has been instrumental in developing this attitude because it doesn’t require its users to adhere to a strict writing standard.
Much of the Internet is also used for non-written communication. Whether it’s contact via images or webcams, most teenagers are rapidly becoming submerged by an increasingly technological age. Most teenage boys I know talk of pornography on the Internet, while others are addicted to sites like YouTube where they post videos and maybe add a brief comment. These sorts of sites might be self-gratifying or humorous, but are generally no more than time-wasting exercises when looking at improving writing standards.
Overall, the Internet could be very beneficial for teenagers, as it could for everyone, but unfortunately, too many of them are distracted or don’t use it in ways which are the most beneficial.
Writing a blog and adding comments to sites is useful for general communication and learning more about different people from around the world and are excellent if used alongside other forms of communication, but if we’re after a more formal style of writing, these examples will do little to advance the future generations.