Art of letter writing 'dying''
Letter writing is becoming a dying art among today's technologically savvy children, a survey suggests.
More than a quarter (26%) of seven to 14-year-olds have not written a letter in the last year, and one in 10 (10%) has never written one, according to a poll commissioned by World Vision.
But in the last week alone, almost half (49%) of youngsters have written an email or a message on a social networking site.
More than four in 10 (43%) have not received a letter in the past year, and 20% say they have never received one. In contrast, more than half (52%) have received an email or message on a social networking site in the last week.
The figures reveal that many youngsters are leaving primary school unable to set out a letter - almost half of 11-year-olds (45%) are unsure of the right layout.
Child education expert Sue Palmer said: "If children do not write or receive letters they miss out on key developmental benefits. Handwritten letters are much more personal than electronic communication.
"By going to the trouble of physically committing words to paper, the writer shows their investment of time and effort in a relationship. That's why we tend to hang on to personal letters as keepsakes."
The poll, conducted to mark the charity's National Letter Writing Day, reveals children are less likely to write letters as they get older.
About 8% of 14-year-olds have written a letter in the last week, compared with more than a quarter (28%) of seven-year-olds. More than four in 10 (43%) 14-year-olds have not written a letter in the past year, and 12% have never written a letter.
There is also a gender gap - with girls more likely than boys to put pen to paper.