There are those who use the internet and gain a great deal of skill and knowledge from it. They walk away being better typists because they use it for things that they enjoy doing. They learn about things that interest them and they gain a knowledge.
However, there are many who use the internet and walk away with lower writing standards and less then stellar ability to communicate with the written word to a general audience. These students use abbreviations, skip out on punctuation, and ignore the rules of writing. Not only do they do this when communicating with their friends, they do this on papers, essays, and articles.
Being a “young ‘un” myself I can say that it has effected a great deal of the teenage population. I no longer fall into the “teen” category, having graduated high school, finished with college, gotten married, and had a child, but being 24 I remember it fairly clearly. My generation was really the first one to be effected by the internet. Most of us didn’t have as much access to it as teens today. We didn’t chat until we were older. Text messaging was fairly new as I was leaving high school, rather then having it be a part of our every day lives. Still, I can remember a discussion in my first year of college. It was one where the teacher talked to us about using shortened words in our essays.
We weren’t dumb, even the people who did this to their papers (it wasn’t me by the way). However, many had gotten used to using shortened versions of the words and they forgot to change them over when they typed up their papers. They had papers with abbreviation such as u and ur (you and your). They skipped out on finishing a lot of the work, merely because they had gotten used to doing it faster and easier online.
Internet communication has different standards then normal communication and as such gets many who use it into bad habits. Many, if not most, of these people know how to work the English language in a sufficient way. They can write out a sentence and handle the words that they need to use. But because they have gotten used to doing it quicker on the internet, they forget to do it correctly at the appropriate time.
Teachers and sadly even professors are having to say, “Hey, wait a minute. This just isn’t acceptable.” Writing standards must remain high in order to continue to produce adults who have the skills necessary to fill job positions. It isn’t enough to be able to chat. It isn’t enough to have all of the right things to say, one must no how to say them in a manner that is clear, understandable, and easy to read.
A reader isn’t supposed to have to work at understanding the written word. It is the writers job to put it in a way that is clear, understandable, and that makes sense to the reader. Internet communication works online because it is fast, short, and usually followed by something more. However, it is destroying writing standards among our young people, which could have a detrimental effect of the future of the English language and writing as we know it.