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Has social media chat language affected good diction?

BY EMEKA AGINAM

Designed as a social network to keep up with friends, share ideas, photos, links and many more in the new information order, social media, according to findings is killing creative writings among students in both secondary and higher institutions.

These days, according to findings, students, especially teenagers spend more time chatting than reading class works. Teenagers are the most digitally connected generation we have ever seen.

However, a study released  late June last year by Nielsen on teen media usage offers some interesting insight into the connected people of the class of 2011. Although social media has its good side, new findings reveal that students do not write good English again in test papers.

For most students, writing complete English during chatting either in Facebook, Twiter or Yahoo ! chat is a mere waste of time. Both the young and the old appear to be too much in a hurry to construct complete sentences.

This habit, according to school teachers is causing more harm than good among students as students who are addicted to Facebook. As a result of this, students appear to be losing focus in the course of lectures thereby killing creative writings among them.

A close monitoring of student;s life in campuses last week in Lagos especially at the University of Lagos and the Lagos state Polytechnic showed that more students are busier using smart phones more often than reading or writing.

At the University of Lagos, according to findings, students, especially, ladies were seen hanging around with the latest smart phones available in the IT market.

“But what do you expect us to be doing during our spare time? Do you expect us to go to hostel to sleep or go to library when another lecture will be starting shortly,” a black tall lady who did not want to disclose her identity told Vanguard Hitech in an interaction at the Senate House of the university.

According to her, it is better to be chatting than drinking or smoking during spare time in between lectures, adding that chatting makes students mentally alert.

At the Lagos State Polytechnic also, the behaviour of students are the same. “Thanks to multimedia digital era that allows you to communicate and take pictures with your phones. We even use phones to record class lectures. But I use my phones wisely. I only use it when I am not busy. I cannot remember the last time I wrote a letter using pen and paper,” a male student told Vanguard Hitech in an interaction.

He added that social media is really changing the way students learn in campuses as a result of sharing of ideas among themselves.

“It is that students do not write good English again even in serious exams like GCE and WEAC. It is amazing reading short sentences that do not make meaning this days in answer scripts while marking students exam work. But where do we go from here?

Something has to be done to reverse the trend otherwise we will have a generation of students with poor diction,” Prof. Aderanti Adepoju told journalists recently during a training course at the University of Lagos.

According to him, social media has killed creating writing and good diction among students, adding that it is time students orientation were change for a better academic culture.

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