I grew up hearing about the whole "Generation X" idea people had about children being born in the 60s & 70s, and how they experienced or even started distinct changes in American society. I'm from Generation Y, basically kids born in the 80s & early 90s. We experienced a lot of stuff Generation Z kids now take for granted, such as the birth of the Internet, older cartoons, and the technological explosion of the Millennium. Before 1994, everyone was still living with 1980s/90s tech, which included having land-line phones, basic cable, no cell-phones unless you were rich or worked for a big business, floppies & CD-ROM discs, video games, hand-held games, etc. Kids were more active in those days, including in the classroom. Would you believe elementary schools were still using slide-shows w/ tapes & film projectors for visual aids in those days?
I learned to read & write in the Midwest, where teachers used Phonics in their classrooms, rather than that horrible see-and-say program they were using on the coasts. Unlike my classmates, I loved reading & put great effort into doing it right. So all the kids who goofed off in my 1st-grade classes were still reading like 6-year-olds ten years later in high school, and it was very painful to listen to when we had to read plays in English class. But one lesson I still value greatly from my Language Teachers was D.O.L. or D.O.U. I don't know what it stands for, but it was a daily teaching tool they used to start our writing in class. The teacher would write an incorrect sentence on the board, (in chalk), and we students had to figure out what was wrong with it. The teacher would then explain why the corrections were made. The last grade I had that sort of teaching was 5th Grade, when I was 10. I never forgot those lessons, but apparently most forget about it anywhere between 1-3 years, and then jr. high & high school English teachers have to be tortured into reading their students' grammar-free chicken-scratch. Sometimes I wonder why Freshman English teachers don't re-implement D.O.L. to refresh their dumber students' memories. It certainly would be a boon to budding writers in the classroom.
By the time I was introduced to Instant Messaging in 2002, the idea of writing & typing properly was firmly entrenched in my mind. Despite the usefulness of typing shortened "IM-speak," I still try and get it right so it makes sense to the other person. Often you see a mixture of IM-speak & normal typing in my art captions, and it's always embarrassing to find a typo I overlooked beforehand.
However, it appears other kids were never taught proper typing skills, and misuse words like "there/they're/their," "your/you're" and "to/too" all the time . It drives me NUTS when Generation Z kids exemplify just how stupid America's become since the internet became big. More than once I've heard stories of kids in Elementary school either getting F's on their papers, or their essays being thrown away because they were too stupid to know that writing in IM-speak DOES NOT WORK when you're doing an assignment for school. Teachers expect you to type with proper grammar and spelling. Parents everywhere, THE INTERNET IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE BABY-SITTER! Too many are letting their kids blog or get involved in chat-rooms too early, like when they're 5-10. They really shouldn't get involved in stuff like that until they're 12, when they know the difference between the internet and real life.
I'm not letting my own kids have their own computers until they're 12, no matter how much they beg me.