The death of the letter for digitally-savvy teenagers?

An article in today’s The Times revealed that a study conducted by file-transfer service, We Transfer, found that tech-savvy teenagers struggle to write a letter. Surveying nearly 120,000 teenagers, while those aged between 12-17 send emails, texts, tweets and Facebook messages numerous times a day, more than half have never sent a personal letter and many admit to having no idea how to go about it.

The study found that girls were much more likely to have sent a letter than boys, with 63% of boys yet to have put their thoughts on paper, compared to 40% of girls. 37% of boys have never sent a letter because they do not see why they should, when they can send mail digitally. Interestingly, it isn’t just youngsters – one in four adults admit that they can’t remember the last time they sent a personal letter. Of those who do put pen to paper, 3 of 5 correspond mainly with their family, while only 1 in 20 would write a letter for business purposes. However, when asked about birthday and Christmas cards, We Transfer’s findings show that this will still be a popular and meaningful tradition.

This revelation of today’s society, where Generation Y continues to grow in a digital world, is an insightful look into a culture where the smartphone seems to be mightier than the pen. 45% of the teenagers surveyed said that they felt traditional letters were “outdated” because they look too long to deliver, were inconvenient and were too expensive; social media channels and text messaging, meanwhile, allow instant communication at the click of a button, are generally free and don’t require much more than the device itself. It’s certainly telling of an age where we have come to expect immediacy, convenience and accessibility as the key requirements for interaction.