500 TEXTING word essays? Not so much.

April 25, 2010
Texting. It's a popular rising trend among all ages, not just teens now. Who wouldn't love such a quick, easy method of communication? Just flip open your cell phone, type in a quick 'meet me @ 2 plz' and press send. It seems easy and innocent enough- but some people are beginning to think it's not so harmless.

There have been specific studies and many theories about whether or not texting and instant messaging effects students’ written schoolwork. They have all unearthed equally different results. The question is, do teens realize the difference between easy communication and proper educational skills? I, personally, think that this slang isn’t effecting schoolwork as terribly as most are letting on that it is. Abbreviations in text-talk are occasionally carried over in casual conversation or note-passing, but the majority I have seen and heard of shows that it doesn’t have the serious effect that most have thought it to give. Some teachers I have had experience with actually give their students permission to use their made-up language to take notes, as it is easier and faster.

“As long as they can understand it,” one claimed, “it’s fine with me. They’re getting and understanding the material in the way they can.”

But, besides regular note-taking, what sort of effect is texting and instant messaging really having on the school systems? Parents and teachers debate between an enormous amount and nearly none at all. According to most adults, they have seen large amounts of the texting language slipping into teens’ writing. However, according to one study, while teenagers are writing in such language more than ever now, most know the line between their electronic communications and real-world writings, where they need to use proper grammar and spelling on essays.

Personally, I can say that despite my regular use of text and instant messaging, I have hardly seen an effect on my writing in classrooms. My grades have never been better. I even prefer NOT to use text-language on my notes, finding it better to write properly. Whether you take my word for it or not, I don’t think texting is totally at fault for a drop in a student’s grade in English class.

According to some experts, despite the popular view that texting is responsible for the deterioration of the English language, the impact of teens’ use of text-talk on their reading and writing development isn’t well understood- mostly due to a lack of research on both sides of the debate. Up until this time, the limited research on texting has either focused on the language of texts instead of linking texting with other types of literacy. In order to fill this gap, a few researchers cam together to come up with two results:
-There was no relation between overall use of texting/instant messaging and students’ spelling scores. Earlier evidence shows little evidence that using text-talk actually damages their language skills.
-There was a strong association between text-language and homophonic recognition. Teenagers found that “tonight” sounded like the word they read on screens at home: “2nite”. Students were making a connection with many words in the made-up text-language.

Though these results are strong, they were also aware that the studies could have been made with children who were already strong in their understanding of the English language.

And yet, even when teachers have allowed students to go all-out with their own language in educational chat rooms, though the grammar is atrocious and spelling is sacrificed for the sake of faster typing, the conversations that follow are always “vigorous and intelligent.”

There are also specific websites designed for teens that are proof, in writing, that their literacy skills are anything but on the decline. Sites such as www.fanfiction.net are popular social websites used to share poems, stories, essays, and other short writing between thousands of teens. They show an ease of communication as well as an enormous interest in reading and writing.

So, which side of the debate will you take part in? The side with the numbers is saying that more than sixty percent of teens have been effected by text-talk. The other side, however, claims and has evidence of texting having no effect whatsoever on teens’ education- if not a positive effect! Let me know now: which side will you take in the Great Text Debate?

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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

earlybird_8 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 21, 2010 at 11:09 pm
This is a really good piece! It was nicely polished, and I liked the way that you cited studies. As for my opinion on txt tlk, I think that as long as teens know when and where to use it, there isn't a problem.
Lanna8o9 replied...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 5:25 am
Thank you! And I totally agree :)
lovetowrite22 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 2, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Nice piece. I agree that texting isn't COMPLETELY at fault for the drop in some kids' English grades, but it definitely contributes. Texting lingo is  becoming too much of a regular habit, and quite often that carries over into writing. As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes I begin to write the shortened version of a word (but I definitely always correct it right away) and I know many other people do it as well. But, as you said, texting can't be blamed for everything.<... (more »)

cody980 said...
May 13, 2010 at 5:55 pm
Wow I'm shocked no one has commented on this yet. I loved it!
Lanna8o9 replied...
May 13, 2010 at 7:24 pm
Haha well thank you! ^_^
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