The report that follows looks at teens’ basic definition of writing, explores the various kinds of writing they do, seeks their assessment about what impact e-communication has on their writing, and probes for their guidance about how writing instruction might be improved. The study found that at the core, the digital age presents a paradox. Most teenagers spend a considerable amount of their life composing texts, but they do not think that a lot of the material they create electronically is writing. The act of exchanging emails, instant messages, texts, and social network posts is communication that carries the same weight to teens as phone calls and between-class hallway greetings. At the same time that teens disassociate e-communication with “writing,” they also strongly believe that good writing is a critical skill to achieving success – and their parents agree. Moreover, teens are filled with insights and critiques of the current state of writing instruction as well as ideas about how to make in-school writing instruction better and more useful.
Lenhart, A., Arafeh, S., Smith, A., & Macgill, A. R. (2008). Writing, technology and teens. Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center. http://www.pewinternet.org/files/old-media/Files/Reports/2008/PIP_Writing_Report_FINAL3.pdf.pdf