Pretty much everybody is texting these days! Even if it is not SMS messages that we are talking about, pretty much everyone is using technology these days to send and receive short messages as texts. As technology advances, there has always been this need of sorts to zero in on how this new technology is detrimental to the children! They used to say that the internet was making it so that kids will not know how to read books and students will not know how to do old-fashioned research. Well, that was certainly not true! You can read and research with books over the internet! I can hear people in my head saying that kids aren’t going to know how to talk on the phone anymore because they are too focused on that screen texting…Well, who would want to! I don’t. Texting is so efficient and I don’t have to deal with telemarketers!
On Facebook, one of my main sources for getting my news, I have read a lot of articles letting me know that texting is going to or has already ruined grammar. According to an article released by Penn State, “Text messaging…could lead to declining language and grammar skills, according to researchers.” Interestingly enough, they address it as a problem for “tweens.” I honestly think the issue is bigger than just tweens, if it is even an issue, but I am going to take one for the team since I am from the texting generation and say that I am not buying it…I do not really see texting eroding the very foundation of writing and grammar.
I will admit, when I am texting, I do regularly say “LOL” and abbreviate commonly used phrases with a texting shorthand. I personally do not think this is a new thing at all. My grandmother who does not text at all even to this day knew that LOL means “laugh out loud” and sometimes “lots of love” depending on the context. We had this conversation years ago when the Nokia brick phones were the main phones to have and AIM was everyone’s main means of communicating digitally. Obviously if someone is going to say “LOL” they know that it has a meaning, they are not simply going around saying “lol,” they know it is an abbreviation for the action of laughing out loud.
According to a really cool article that I found, there is actually research leaning in the direction of texting not ruining anything but actually being beneficial. It is said that “exposure to “textisms” (the abbreviated spellings of text messages) is actually associated with better literacy skills.” The writer of this article, Nenagh Kemp, a professor at Coventry University in the UK along with her colleagues have concluded through research that “we found no evidence that the use of grammatical violations in text messages is consistently related to poorer grammatical or spelling skills in school students.”
I find this very relevant and confirming. I believe that people actually are conscious that texting is an appropriate time to use textisms and have the ability and intelligence to switch to a more standard version of the language when they want to be taken seriously or professionally. I also believe that students would understand that when it is time to write an essay, and upon teacher instruction to write a paper according to guidelines, that they would code-switch into writing with appropriate standard spellings and complete sentences if they were taught how to do these things. If they were not taught spellings and what complete sentences are, of course there is going to be an issue with spelling and complete sentences! I do not see someone saying LOL, OMG, or WTF in an essay! I grew up saying all of these things, it did not hinder me! I am not buying it!
It is also important to mention omission and unconventional use of punctuation in regards to texting. Recently I have heard that it is considered rude or that you are mad or angry if you text with periods. Texting without periods is actually quite common when it comes to texting. It has been said that using periods in texting is problematic because it denotes anger or being too short as if you really don’t want to chat. I can see where they are coming from with this, but I do not think that this is always the intention of the person. I always text with my own version of correct texting grammar, and I always use periods. I am not trying to be short with anybody, and I generally love to chat. If someone wants to use periods and punctuation in their texts, that is their choice!