Dr. Janice R. Walker
October 13, 2009
Text Messaging Friend or Foe towards Students?
Are you “txting away ur education”? “FOMCL” (falling off my chair laughing) “OMG”
(oh my God!), “TTUL” (talk to you later), are just few of that text messaging abbreviations that
many of you young people are probably familiar with, but for those of you who are not, welcome
to the world of text messaging, the most modern way of communication for teenagers and the
younger generation. What I find to be sarcastic is that this technology was created as a way to
make communicating easier but in reality it is helping to obliterating communication in writing.
Text messaging is greatly deteriorating students writing and becoming a big distraction in their
Text Messaging, also called texting or short message service (SMS), is a service that
allows a user to send a message from a cell phone or a computer to a cell phone user, email
addresses, instant messaging programs, and landline telephones (Wikipedia). One of the things
that a well written paper is composed of the writer doing in depth thinking on the topic that he or
she is writing about so that their argument can be expressed clearly and as a complete thought,
but “texting takes away that thoughtful piece that should be in writing”. Students tend to text
very quickly and sometimes do not put much thought into what they are typing. Consequently
when it is time to write for a class assignment students write too quickly and do not think about
what they are writing about or recheck what they have written.
Students get so use to using abbreviations when texting that they do not even recognize
that they are using it when writing. A professor at Pierce College said that he had “students turn
in papers where it read, 'ur' instead of 'your' spelled out.” Texting is causing students to integrate
informal writing of texting vocabulary for poor spelling with formal writing. “A national
telephone poll of 700 youths ages 12 to 17 and their parents found that 64 percent of teens admit
that the breezy shortcuts and symbols commonly used in text messaging have appeared in their
school assignments.” However it is still very possible that teens are aware of the fact that they
are using this informal language in their writing but they just do not pay much attention to it or
even think that it is a problem because they are so accustom to it.
Although the notion of being able to communicate easily with others has drastically
improved with the introduction of text messaging, we have to inquire if the advantage of this
technology is worth all the distraction that it causes? Texting has not only caused sluggishness in
language but it has also become a big distraction for most teens, in school, their family life and
just their life in general. It is very difficult to stay focused in class when you are being
bombarded by a cell phone going off with texts that you are receiving every few minutes. It is
even more difficult for students to stay focused in class because when they get a text message
they are inclined to respond right away therefore breaking their former thought process and
causing them to pay more attention to the text message rather than what is happening in class at
the moment. Text messaging is even becoming a problem at the dinner table. When teens sit
down with their family to have a meal instead of enjoying the company of their family they
would much rather be text their friends. I have seen this many times at my aunt’s house, every 5
minutes my cousins cell phone would go off with a text message from one of her friends;
meanwhile the only thing that she has said while at the table was that the food tastes good.
The ability of teenagers to put the phone down for just ten minutes and get work to work
no longer exists. It has become such a habit that students are taking out the need for capitalization,
punctuation, and the use for the components that makes an essay a well written and great essay.
While it is obvious that text messaging has can have it uses such as the fact that it is a great social
tool for staying in touch with friends and family, or helping with faster note taking in class, you have
to ask is it worth all the negative things that come along with it? Would you the reader, if you text,
go into the business world when writing a job application or a resume use texting language, IDK
(I don’t know) but I how that you will not.