Text messaging, is the act of typing and sending a brief, electronic message between two or more mobile phones or fixed or portable devices over a phone network. The term originally referred to messages sent using the Short Message Service (SMS); it has grown to include messages containing image, video, and sound content (known as MMS messages) The sender of a text message is known as a texter, while the service itself has different colloquialisms depending on the region. It may simply be referred to as a text in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and the Philippines, an SMS in most of mainland Europe, and a TMS or SMS in the Middle East and Asia. Text messages can be used to interact with automated systems to, for example, order products or services, or participate in contests. Advertisers and service providers use direct text marketing to message mobile phone users about promotions, payment due dates, etcetera instead of using mail, e-mail or voicemail. In a straight and concise definition for the purposes of this English Language article, text messaging by phones or mobile phones should include all 26 letters of the alphabet and 10 numerals, i.e., alpha-numeric messages, or text, to be sent by texter or received by the texter.
Cell phones are becoming a modern day necessity, to the point where they are a must have for every teenager and adult. Human beings are growing increasingly attached to these devices, depending on them more and more for their communications with other people, job duties, and other daily activities that they must accomplish. One way that we are taking advantage of cell phone technology at a rapidly growing rate is through the use of text messaging. It seems that anywhere that you go where there are people you will likely see some of them glued to their phones screen, fingers typing away. In schools, malls, and cars we see them. On sidewalks, streets, and in crosswalks we see them, heads down typing away. Sometimes we may be one of those people with our fingers glued to our phones keyboard or touchscreen. “IYO TXTng = Gd 4 or NME of GMR?” If you cannot understand the previous statement, then you most likely have not been exposed to the language of text messaging. Who are the creators of this language?
The answer is today’s teenagers. The translation for the opening sentence is, “In your opinion, is texting good for or the enemy of grammar?” Text messaging has surely given our society a quick means through which to communicate, taking out the need for capitalization, punctuation, the use and knowledge of sentence structure and the detail that make good statements great. Some educators suggest that this new age form of messaging may be hindering today’s teens’ abilities to apply grammar correctly in their writing and social skills. Others, however, take pride in the notion that teenagers are essentially creating their own language of the twenty-first century and see no effect on their students’ writing skills. Text messaging has brought a great deal of convenience, quickness, and a new language to our society. Technology is the mark of our innovative world today. Many benefits have emerged from text messaging. However, many problems have risen with the development and prevalence of text messaging as well.
Texting while driving, more parts of a phone bill, lack of substantive communication, dinner table distractions at family meals, and possibly a decline in the grammar and writing skills of our students are some of the negative aspects of text messaging. Texting has become an integral part of our lives. It has developed very rapidly throughout the world. Initial growth of text messaging starts with customers in 1995 sending an average 0.4 messages per GSM (Global System for mobile communications) per customer per month. (Wikipedia, 2009) Today, text messaging is the most widely used mobile data service, with 35% of all mobile phones users worldwide or 4.2 million to 7.3 million phone subscribers at the end of 2003 being active users of SMS. The largest average usage of the service by mobile phone subscribers is the Philippines with an average of 15 texts per day by subscribers. (Wikipedia, 2009) Text messaging is most often used between private mobile users as a substitute for voice calls situations.
Popularity has grown to a sufficient extent that the term texting has enticed the people. It is a very powerful tool in the Philippines where the average user sends 10-12 text messages a day. The Philippines ends on the average 400 million test messages per day or approximately 142 billion text messages sent a year. At the end of 2007, four of the top mobile service providers in the country stated that there are 42.78 million mobile subscribers in the Philippines; thus Philippines has become the “texting capital of the world”. The expanding availability of text messaging has raised questions about the effect of texting on standard literacy. Many have reported unintentional intrusions of abbreviations used in texting called “textisms”- is inappropriate contexts. (Wood. Et al., 2009) This study aims to determine whether the texting habits of the third year high school students of Our Lady of Peace School should be a concern as it significantly demeaning their spelling proficiency.
Chapter II – Review of Related Literature and Studies
An Internet survey of 2840 people taken by Edutopia.com found that 56% (1584) of the surveyparticipants believed that texting harms student’s writing skills. 18% (524) of the survey participants believed that texting does not harm student’s writing skill, and 26% (732) of the participants thought that it might harm student’s writing skills. There are many negative aspects to the rise of technology, but there are many positive aspects as well. Many would argue that texting has dampened their children’s ability to interact on a face-to-face level with their peers, but others would argue against that, and say that it allows people more freedom to contact those that they do not see regularly. Many teenagers have cell phones now and that is seen as a blessing and curse by both parents and children.
Often, a child will get a cell phone as a means to communicate more easily with their guardians, which gives them some measure of freedom that they hadn’t had before. While most teens appreciate that freedom, they also feel a sense of being too connected to their parents, since they can be contacted at any time. Parents are thankful that they have that connection, but they also run the risk of being frustrated by how often their child uses their phone, causing many parents to put restrictions on how much their child can use their phone. With the uprising of technology many are concerned about the social ramifications that texting holds, particularly on younger generations.
Between teenagers and their friends “cell-phone texting has become the preferred channel of basic communication” (Lenhart) and it’s becoming commonplace for children at younger and younger ages to communicate with their friends via text messaging as opposed to phone conversations or even face-to-face. A majority of modern teenagers, defined by the Pew Research Center as ages 12-17, will text their friends at least once a day. A smaller percentage call theirs friends daily and an even smaller number talk to friends face-to-face. More specific numbers are given in the table. Though texting might take some kids away from social interactions, it also opens the door for many other children to communicate with their peers through a way that makes them feel safer. Texting can be a good alternative for children that suffer from:
Cell phones and texting can also be used for more negative aspects such as:
Texting in school, leading to decreased focus
Escaping from problems rather than fixing them
Sending sexually explicit images and messages
Many parents are becoming worried that the lack of face-to-face interaction is detrimental to their children’s social abilities and that they aren’t developing necessary skills that they will need later in life. Researchers are beginning to look into this, their question being “whether all that texting…allows children to become more connected and supportive of their friends” or if it’s diminishing their interactions due to the lack of “intimacy and emotional give and take” experienced during face-to-face conversations” (Stout). Teenagers have adopted text messaging as their primary form of text-based communication, preferring it even over e-mail (Lenhart, 2009); there are several reasons for the popularity of text messaging. First, it is quicker; adolescents have found that by texting, they can forego the normal chit-chat involved in phone conversations. One teen stated that even for a quick question, you’d have to go through the niceties of greetings and spend time talking about other things (Faulkner & Culwin, 2005).
Finally, many teens state that text messaging is more convenient. Phones can be switched to silent mode, so they do not disturb others, and allows texting to be done surreptitiously and away from parents or teachers (Grinter & Eldrige, 2001). E-mail is the preferred mode of communication for school or work, but when teenagers want something that is fast, immediate, and can be done anywhere – texting is preferred (Lev-Ram, 2006). For teenagers, the cell phone is almost always with the person, so it is constantly accessible. Being small and silent, the cell phone is easily transported and used furtively under the supervision of authority, as compared to email, which requires a computer (Thurlow, 2003). Many teenagers have reported that they share a computer with family members or that it is in a common area of the home so instant messaging and email can be observed (Faulkner & Culwin, 2005).
In addition, because the phone displays both text and sender, the user can choose when and if to respond to a message and has time to compose an appropriate response. Girls, in particular, often invite others to help them compose their responses (Faulkner & Culwin, 2005). Reid and Reid (2004) have also theorized that another part of the attractiveness of texting is the visual anonymity it seems to afford, especially for socially anxious people, as the texter does not need to see/hear the recipient. In addition, it provides almost perpetual contact for those who are lonely. Lohnes Watulak (2010), drawing on the work of Thurlow (2003) and Clark (2005), sites the desire for constant contact as a significant reason for undergraduate students to text during class, even if they acknowledge that that texting is rude and the content is trivial. Finally, texting provides students with not only communication, but also a way to exert power in situations where they feel they have little control.