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Facebook Good for Kids' Writing...Who Knew?

Here's good news for those who see the rise of digital messaging as the harbinger of death for actual writing: A survey by the National Literacy Trust found that the more children wrote on their blogs and social sites, the more likely they were to enjoy writing by hand.

From the Press Association:

Half of children (49%) believe that writing is "boring"...but those youngsters who spend time blogging enjoy writing more...with almost six in 10 (57%) saying they like putting pen to paper, compared to two fifths (40%) of those who do not have a blog.

The survey was conducted of 3,001 children in the UK between the ages of nine and 16. Researchers reported that almost a quarter of the children had their own blogs, slightly more than half use a social networking site and more than 80 percent sent text messages at least once a month.

While a BBC article about the survey had this exciting headline: "Children who use technology are 'better writers,'" that wasn't actually the case. According to the survey, about 61 percent of the bloggers and 56 percent of the social networkers said they considered themselves to be good or very good at writing, compared to 47 percent of children who did neither.

Fortunately, the survey found that 77 percent of all the kids still take notes or do homework by with pen and paper.

Clearly we'd be fooling ourselves to think that pen-and-paper is ever going to become a dominant form of writing again, but it's nice to know that it will survive as part of the digital/analogue hybrid. Plus, anything that contributes to the continuity of writing as a means of communication is a positive.

The BBC had this from Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust:

"Our research suggests a strong correlation between kids using technology and wider patterns of reading and writing...Engagement with online technology drives their enthusiasm for writing short stories, letters, song lyrics or diaries."

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