When is the last time you wrote something by hand? According to research commissioned by Docmail, a UK-based printing company, the average person hasn’t done so for 41 days, with one in three of those surveyed saying they haven’t had reason to hand-write anything properly for more than six months.
Think about it: When’s the last time you got a hand-written letter in your mail box? And how’s your cursive looking these days?
Check out these findings from Docmail’s study:
- Two thirds of those surveyed said if they do write something on paper, it’s usually something only they will see, such as a note or reminder.
- More than half said they don’t take pride in their handwriting.
- One in five can’t remember the last time they were required to write something neatly.
- Over half said the quality of their handwriting has noticeably declined, with one in seven being “very ashamed” of it.
- Nearly half (44%) said their handwriting isn’t easy to read and a third said they often struggle to read their own writing.
- Even so, remarkably a sixth of those surveyed don’t believe handwriting should still be taught in schools.
That’s just silly. Not teach handwriting in schools?
Or is it?
After all, technology makes it possible to never have to pick up a pen or pencil. You can make notes to yourself on your smartphone as well as throw away your paper calendar in lieu for one on your phone or an online platform like Google Calendar that will sync with your devices and send you alerts.
Instead of sending a note to your child’s teacher about an issue or question, you can email her.
On Mother’s Day you can click around online and buy a gift certificate that sites such as Amazon—where Mom can buy practically anything her heart desires—will deliver to her either electronically or in the regular mail. You can’t even sign the card that comes with it, if you choose to send one.
All this technology is not only affecting the quality of our handwriting, it’s hurting our ability to spell, as well. Four in ten of those surveyed said they increasingly rely on predictive text, which is when your mobile device finishes a word you start to input.
Even worse, people are starting to use “text talk” outside of texting. I have a friend on a certain social network who sends me messages such as “U should come dancing with Caitlyn n I some night.”
Call me a professional writer, but it seems to me if you’re using a keyboard off of which words can speedily fly, there’s really no reason to shorten them. Yet you see it all the time: OMG, LOL, WTH (that’s a nicer version of the more profane acronym in common use, BTW) and they do degrade the level of your communications, IMHO—at least if you’re dealing with someone who might judge your intelligence or other measure by how well you use words.*
That’s not to say technology hasn’t been a detriment to my own handwriting. A few years ago an older person with a badly shaking hand asked me to help her hand write a Christmas letter. I tried resuscitating my cursive and it was a disastrous and ugly affair.
I’ll bet if you take a look at the handwriting of your grandparents or even parents, you’re likely to see beautiful cursive.
What’s your take on the state of old fashioned writing? Do we have cause for concern? Should kids be taught keyboarding instead of printing?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.
*If you don’t know what these acronyms mean, here’s a brief primer: OMG (Oh my God), LOL (laugh out loud), WTH (what the hell), BTW (by the way) and IMHO (in my humble opinion). Others that Docmail says are common include U (you), FYI (for your information), R (are), 4 (for), 2 (too/ to), Gr8 (great), MSG (message) and K (OK).