Will letter writing die out? 81



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It is funny to think that among the generation currently aged 13-19 years old, many have never hand written a letter. Yet we are for the first time raising a generation of writers.

That sounds kind of contradictory doesn’t it. But think about it. Decades ago, when today’s 60 year olds were young, there were many professions and job pathways that didn’t require you to be able to write. You didn’t need to write if you were in construction or trades. And if you didn’t like to write letters then you might have gotten by without ever needing to, or rarely anyway other than the odd birthday card or love letter.

Today things are very different. Every young person has to write in a day these days, just not how we used to. Text messages, Facebook posts, blogs and tweets all rely on writing of entertaining, witty content. We ARE raising a generation of writers.  Yet none of them are writing with pens and paper, in the way we know so well.

I don’t know about you but I have boxes of letters from my youth that I simply can’t part with. Love letters from my now husband, loving and caring letters and cards from the important moments of our life, like the birth of children and our wedding. Special letters that were written to me over the years for instance, there is one by my Grandmother when I was just five years old that is tucked away inside an old coffee set she left me when she died and had been written many decades earlier. Imagine your life without letters and the special keepsakes and treasures they become. Do you worry that a whole generation, and perhaps all future generations will not get to enjoy the outlet that is handwriting?

New research shows though that among these 13-19 year olds are seeing their opportunity to write as different to how we did. They don’t see the desire to put pen to paper, and in fact many have no “letter writing” paper in their homes.

According to a study done by BIC in the UK that reached 1000 people, half of the children surveyed had never sent a thank-you letter and 58 percent of teenagers complained that handwriting is “too slow” and 17 percent insisted it was “outdated”.

Could a whole generation be missing the joys that comes from letters that have been carefully and lovingly crafted?

Sadly, around 83 per cent have not written a love letter and up to a quarter say they have not written a Christmas Card.  And, even they are a little affronted.  The survey reported that most confess their reliance on text messages and instant messaging has a negative impact on their writing.

‘Perhaps what’s most concerning about our findings is just how little writing appears to be done at home.

‘Handwriting is one of the most creative outlets we have and should be given the same importance as other art forms such as sketching, painting or photography.

‘We need to be doing more to encourage youngsters to put pen to paper,’  said Jonathan Skyrme, General Manager at BIC UK.

Did you adore the era of letters and letter writing? Do you still have special paper for when you write letters to people? 

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Yes, letter writing is almost dead, it is so simple to type a quick email or message and mobile phones make it very easy to be in contact where ever you are

  2. It has been many many since I have either writen or received and hand written letter, I have been using the computer and keyboard for so long I may have even forgotten how to write and kids just type everything

  3. Kids today don’t write letters, they hardly write anything at all. And if they do the spelling is shocking, they type everything

  4. I used to write a lot of letters but I don’t anymore and my handwriting has gone to pot.
    Yes. Letterwriting has just about died.
    I still write to one person because she refuses to have

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