Spell it out - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Spell it out

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Facebook, twitter and texting - many of us spend a large part of our day doing just that. When it comes to teens, we're sometimes talking more than half of their day.  But what happens when you get a little too used to the way you write-- or type, digitally?  As Fox 13 News found out, it's turning into a big problem in our schools and at work.

"Texting is ruining the English language," Bellevue Middle School Teacher Nona Allen said.
LOL, SMH, OMG or IDK.  This is the way many people speak now, digitally.  "It's quicker and more like when you just want to be laid back when you text.  It's just a shorter way," 7th grader Alyssa Moore said.  "You don't have to do all that typing," 8th grader Allen Bowen said.

Kids love it, but teachers say it's hurting some of them in school.  "It has become quite an issue," Allen said.  "We get the number '2' for the word 'too,' the number '4' for the word 'for,' the letter 'u' for the word 'you' and we have to let them know this is not acceptable.  You cannot write an essay like you text," she said.

The kids admit, it's hard to turn it off.  "After awhile when you're on social media and you're just texting and you shorten your words out and spell it the way you want to spell it, you kind of get used to it and it's hard to just change back to like school environment, to where you have to write everything out," Bowen said.  

"Your body gets used to just being so lazy with your words. You just become accustomed to it," Moore said.

You can only type 140 characters per Tweet and sometimes only 160 per text message. And that may be why it's become so popular to shorten your language on the computer and phone.  Either way, Allen said she wants her kids to know there is no character limit when it comes to writing in her class. She'll make sure you always have as much paper as you need.  "I can even go get paper towels out of the restroom if we don't have any paper.  You know the brown paper towels; you can write on that-- I can give you as much as you want.  And you can write as much as you want," Allen said.
It's not just kids.  Sometimes adults get so used to the way they text and tweet, they forget to change it up in a professional setting.  "People tend to adapt towards those writing styles and it's important to cut those off," Gateway Group Personnel Vice President Jered Haddad said.  

Haddad told Fox 13 News intelligent and qualified adults can still lose a job opportunity, if they forget and accidentally use these shorted forms of writing.  "We do get a lot of applications, cover letters, resumes and the last thing you want to see filtered into those is abbreviated sentences, forms of vocabulary," Haddad said.

Allen said if parents work with teachers now, they can all make sure kids don't become the adults Haddad is talking about.  "Help your children at home speak correctly. Help them write in complete sentences. Do little things just to help us out," Allen said.

Here's a specific way Allen says parents can help their kids' teachers out:

Have your child only use complete sentences and proper punctuation when they text you.  Also when they need to leave you a note around the house have those same rules in place.  Allen said this way, they have more practice at learning to train their brains to turn it off when necessary.

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