Texting Gone Wrong

Apr 15, 2012
by: turake

Something that I have been interested in learning more about has been how texting continues to affect the literacy and social interactions of teenagers. I remember my mom talking about it when we were watching the news, but I wasn’t able to assimilate texting with reading and writing skills. Lately, the issue has caught my eye again. I know that many people feel that teenagers in today’s society are the end to the world as we know it. From what I have heard, texting creates shortcuts and causes the English language to deteriorate. For example, every individual within today’s society has access to a messenger, texting, or web browser; moreover, the freedom of communication can cause abuse to the texting “language” because the shortened words, abbreviations, and symbols can be addictive. Now that's just what I've heard, it may or may not be true.

One thing that I know for sure about how texting affects social standards is that the texting “language” can become permanently stored within our brains, and cause us to write the way we text. Now, I haven’t studied my share of psychology and sociology, but this idea can be strongly supported by just looking in the dictionary. For example, texting “language” has become such a part of our society that even “lol” has been added to the English Oxford Dictionary. I believe that if our society continues to conform to the effects of the technology age, then the English language as we know it will disappear. Personally, it's funny to me how a couple of abbreviations, shortened words, and symbols have the ability to impact the world.
The effect of texting on literacy and social standards has been an important issue because it is so controversial. This issue is not only apparent within the United States, but also worldwide. This issue not only occurs with teenagers, but also with everyone that owns a cell phone or computer. Texting eliminates the need to follow grammar rules, and follow proper punctuation. Teenagers fall victim to the effects of texting because it’s the most popular way of communicating. As the future generation of doctors, lawyers, and scientists, teenagers are expected to be the most social; however, most teenagers would rather type their feelings, rather than to talk and interact.

Being that I didn't have a lot of background information on how texting affects social standards, I chose to do some research on the topic. As I searched for blogs and news articles on Google, I came across this one article, entitled “Teen Texting Soars; Will Social Skills Suffer?” This article provided a lot of information about how social media has become a significant factor in today’s society. Some people felt that the impact of texting and the information age was caused by the availability of the technology. “The report finds that 75 percent of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 now have cell phones, up from 45 percent in 2004.” This statistic didn't really surprise me all that much, but it did make me feel concerned. The amount of cell phone holders continues to increase drastically. I feel that if this statistic continues to increase, there would be fewer conversations and actual social interactions. This article also provided information about how social media and texting has caused teens to neglect their daily activities and their education. “At schools where cell phones are forbidden, 58 percent of students with mobile phones say they've sent a text message during class.” This statement really didn’t surprise me because I have witnessed a lot of students using their phones in class. Instead of paying attention in class, students would rather check their facebook, talk to their friends, or text someone outside of class.

In another article, “Cellphones, Texting and Cell Phone Distractions” by Russell A. Sabella, there was this one statement that made me nod my head in agreement with the writer. It was: “Today’s cell phones allow users to surf the web, conduct text chats with others, take photos, record video, download and listen to music, play games, update blogs, send instant text messages, keep a calendar and to-do list, and much more.” This is so true because people take advantage of the freedoms that come along with new technology. Today’s technology distracts people from their responsibilities and causes them to sit at home all day, rather than hang-out with friends. Instead of talking to someone that is in the same room, teenagers would rather text or send an instant message; this idea does nothing but lower social standards.

Another article, “Literacy and Text Messaging: How will the next generation read and write?” by Kate Baggott, provided a lot of information about how messaging and social media will affect the literacy of teenagers. Baggott stated, “Switching from a language appropriate for a text message to a linguistic mode more appropriate for addressing a teacher or writing an essay is a practice young people can easily be comfortable with.” This is so true because so many teachers have made complaints about the quality of writing that their students have been turning in. Every grammatical error that our teachers or educators try to correct goes down the drain with texting. I’ve heard many of my teachers stressing the importance of editing and revising work because so many teenagers forget to follow simple grammar rules, including capitalizing the first letter in every sentence and I’’s.

In a book, entitled Children's text messaging: abbreviations, input methods and links with literacy by Kemp and Bushnell, there was this one statement that made me shake my head in disagreement with the writer. It was: “Predictive texters were faster at reading and writing messages than multi-press texters, and texting experience increased writing, but not reading, speed.”(Volume 27, issue 1) This cannot possibly be true because textism was created to make texting faster; therefore, it breaks down linguistics into the simplest form. In textism there are shortened words, silly abbreviations, and symbols, which become so catchy that teens even begin writing them in important documents, which lowers both writing and reading skills. If grammar and syntax are essential to writing, then how could ignoring them cause an increase in writing skills?

In another article, “Can Texting Improve Your Child’s Reading Skills?” by Barbara J. Feldman,there was this one statement that made me shake my head in disagreement with the writer. It was: “Some educators and researchers believe that this is because textisms are phonetically based: This phonological awareness has long been associated with good reading skills along with exposure to the written word in any form is also linked to improved literacy.” This is not true because although textism is based on actual words, it simplifies the English language so much that people may become lazy and abuse it. The idea that textism improves reading and writing skills is absurd because the shortcuts, abbreviations, and symbols remove the essence of linguistics. Grammar, syntax, and parts of speech, which essentially make the English language, are ignored because of textism or engaging in real-life conversations using texting “language”.
All of this makes me think that I need to analyze how my texting affects my reading, writing, and social skills. I feel the texting “language” makes communication easier, but has severe long term effects. Who would have thought that a simple three letter text could result in reading and writing deficiency? I believe that texting is not the only factor to blame for such drastic effects, for it is the will of people that causes a decrease in literacy skills. When people text, they are making the decision to shorten their own words into simple abbreviations and symbols; however, it is also their job to differentiate between personal and professional writing. Teenagers must draw line between texting friends and typing a professional essay. Also, many need to consider their behavior within society because it is not wise to choose not to interact with someone in the same room. The only people that have the power to alter the drastic effects of texting on literacy and social interactions are the teenagers themselves.

Works Cited

Ludden,Jennifer. “Teen Texting Soars; Will Social Skills Suffer?”. NPR. April 20,2010. April 4,2012.

Sabella, Russell. “Cellphones, Texting and Cell Phone Distractions”. GuardingKids. 2008. April 5,2012.

Baggott, Kate. “Literacy and Text Messaging: :How will the next generation read and write?”.Technology Review. December 21, 2006. April 8,2012.

Feldman, Barbara. “Can Texting Improve Your Child’s Reading Skills?”. Surfnetkids. February 1, 2012. April 13,2012.

Kemp, N. and Bushnell, C.“Children's text messaging: abbreviations, input methods and links with literacy.” Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27: 18–27. February 2011. April 13,2012.


I think you are right that

Submitted by PeytonR on Fri, 2012-09-28 22:05.

I think you are right that texting will over all decrease peoples' abilities to write with correct grammer and in complete sentences, but I think that what you brought up in the last paragraph is incorrect. Most teenagers know not to write essays with emoticons and abbreviations. I don't think texting will change that.


Submitted by CarolineT on Sat, 2012-09-29 13:28.

This is a very investing article it brings up some very important thoughts about today's world. In this article you talk about how texting could negatively impact the ability to read and write. I don't quite agree on this. While yes texting does shorten words and it uses a lot of slang, is that really a bad thing? All languages evolve from somewhere. If you look back on old English will all of its thees and thous it has changed A LOT since then. This could just be the next evolution in the English language. Even if it's not, I think people will still remember how to write formally when needed.