May 5, 2014
Change of Teenagers Intellectual Development through Texting
Many school teachers blame poor grammar skills on text messaging. They say teenagers get used to short texting or writing from the text limit on their phones and student writings have turned into fragments. Mainstream media claims that the short hand and abbreviated Characteristics of text messaging are making children lazy and not forcing them to use proper grammar skills. Feldman states that texting has become so popular that many have taken so called today’s teens “generation text.”
The over-use of texting has been detrimental to the way students write formally in the classroom. The character limit of texting has caused students to form their own style of writing and terminologies. This style has caused students to carry these bad habits over to formal academic writing projects.
Roz Chast in one of her cartoons in “They Say/I Say” illustrates what he believes would be a modern-day online conversation between Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet are staged in their respective rooms at their houses where the rooms are pretty junky as one might expect a young teenager’s room to be. Romeo talks about how he dislikes his teacher in a typical way, as many teenagers say. Juliet, on the other hand, is grounded and can’t leave the house. Even though the times are different, the story line of Romeo and Juliet remains the same. This text included misspelling, short hand, and abbreviation that went on which is very grammatically incorrect. A vast majority of teens rely on auto-correct to help correct them after making mistakes. Among the 64% of students who say they never incorporated text language in their writing, 25% said they did so to transfer emotion and 38% said they have used text shortcuts. Timothy Shanahan,( President of the International Reading Association says), “A generation ago, a teen who couldn’t read well could still participate pretty fully in the social conversation among peers, but with so much written chatter, being able to read and write have become definite social advantages. There is simply much more pressure to know how to read than in the past when it comes to conversation, shopping, or work.” He also points to the more than 30 billion e-mail and 5 billion text messages that are exchanged every day as evidence of how technology, “is raising the value of reading in our society, both as economic and as a social activity.”
Bronwyn Williams, Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisville, states, “In coming years, literacy will mean knowing how to choose between print, image, video, sound, and all the potential combinations they could create to make a particular point with a specific audience”, he also adds, “Ongoing research is indicating that text messaging and instant messaging often vary with changes in the rhetorical situation, in other words, when someone texts or IM’s someone who is not a close friend, or when the message is about something important, the grammar and spelling becomes less abbreviated and more conventional.
There are positive affects to text and instant messaging too. Shanahan reports, “Text messaging and instant messaging have grown tremendously among kids, and that is likely a positive development, while I see the value of all this new communication technology, I would argue that we need to protect time for more intellectual technologies, those technologies that do more to help us think more deeply rather than those aimed at more immediate social sharing of information as well.” Many studies have found that teens through their texting, blogging, and emailing are reading and writing more than any other generation. Researchers have found there are actually positive effects of texting for teens, from improved language skills to emotional relief, and even added benefits for the especially soft-spoken teen. Studies reveal teens who faithfully text may experience emotional relief and even strengthen their bonds with friends in a way that is supplementary to relationships. Texting grants teenagers to say things that might be troublesome saying face to face, which helps reclusive teens better to reach out to others and express themselves more freely.
Plester, Wood, and Joshi argue that to produce and read such abbreviations requires the texter, a level of phonological awareness. While spelled inaccurately in a conventional sense, much textism is phonologically acceptable forms of written English. Years of research have indicated a consistent association between different forms of phonological awareness and reading attainment. David Crystal, honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, believes that sending frequent texts can actually help kids who to read and write because of the abbreviations used. He also states that the brevity of the text style and the 160-character text limit requires the writer to write economically, inventively, and playfully doing this is good practice when learning to read and write.
Wood, Plester, and Bowyer too state “when texting, the children have the freedom to ‘play’ wight the construction of language that they are learning about at school and are creative in their use of it. They also have regular engagement with it.” They also believe that any engagement with the written word (as to the spoken word) including reading and writing textisms in digital form on mobile phones is beneficial to children. Wood, Plester and Bowyer say, “Children’s use of this technology appears to have a positive impact on their developing literacy, as it provides children with an additional resource for learning about and experimenting with letter-sound correspondences and language, and for reading and ‘decoding’ text.
Some people say the amount of texting a technology use can be linked to the increase in television watched over the years. In “They Say/I Say” Steven Johnson tells us his theory and reasoning on how watching TV can make you smarter. According to Johnson It is a common misconception that watching TV makes you lazy and takes away from your learning but Johnson disagrees. People also think that watching TV takes away or minimizes the intellectual labor of a person but Johnson explains how it doesn’t. Even watching intelligent shows does not have the effect people may think they have. Steven Johnson says that “there’s no intellectual labor involved in enjoying the show as a viewer”. In other words Johnson is saying no matter what you watch your intellectual level does not change and that the intellectual work is happening on screen, not off. The same efforts of watching TV such as attention, patience and retention are used in reading showing the same intellectual skill. Steven Johnson does a great job showing us how watching TV can in fact make us smarter. This essay can also help to tie into how technology is progressing teenagers for better or for worse. In this case the technology of TV is having a positive effect.
Teenagers’ technology use has gone far past texting and television, social media has had an overwhelming takeover. The abbreviations, broken English and bad grammar is also used heavily on social media cites such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. An ordinary teenager can say how they feel on these social Medias cites most time without any punishment. However, for athletes the wrong tweet or post can result in a heavy fine and penalty. Even if the words said were just said out of habit it still comes with a high price.
The NCAA has begun to crack down on players tweeting inappropriate or disrespectful content and messages that are being accumulated and consumed by the media, fans, and children of all ages. Although the media and rest of the world love the thought of being able to read the blogs and communicate with superstar athletes that post their thoughts on certain issues, rule changes, and views on certain things, the NCAA should restrict athletes tweeting because when some athletes decide to post offensive or illegal activities they are a part of the terrible message it sends to our youth.
The reason the NCAA cracks down so hard is to stop these bad languages, or any bad ideas from getting into the mind of the youth. The NCAA does not want to look responsible or have anything to do with corrupting the minds of the youth with bad or illegal activities and ideas. Kids and teenagers follow college and professional athletes on all of the major social media networks such as Instagram and Twitter. If these athletes are the kids role models they are going to look up to them and follow what they do and try to emulate them. There have been cases where the NCAA has had to intervene and crack down on athletes for these mistakes.
College athletes have also been known to “tweet information that hinders their professional future. Zach Houchins a baseball player from Louisburg College in North Carolina, was a fifteenth-round draft choice of the Washington Nationals in the 2011 major league Baseball Amateur draft. … One sample tweet stated, “My teacher just told me not to worry ab a make up test bc he’ll pass me. Whatta boss nigga.” This was possibly the leas alarming of sever racist tweets…..the national chastised Houchins for his tweets and he ultimately returned to school (Browning and Sanderson 505). Athletes are supposed to be model citizens and that means being able to accept criticism and ignore fans provocative behaviors and tweets directed at them. This seems to be a problem professionally and especially at college level considering fans sending offensive tweets to athletes and athletes responding with equally as offensive comments.
As these athletes seem to tweet themselves out of the leagues, athletes continue to be held accountable for their actions online and not only disappoint their fans they ruin their careers. Although there are still many athletes who don’t make the mistake of terrible tweeting and give the media and fans tons of things to consume and publicize that are positive, the NFL NBA and NCAA are doing a remarkable job of cracking down on theses twitter mishaps and strive to continue to lead their leagues in positive and upward direction. Tweeting on illegal activities and offensive content are unacceptable will continue to be monitored by professional coaches as well as commissioners everywhere.
Time, technology, and the overall development in teenagers over the years have changed immensely. The language that teens choose to communicate with has fallen far from the Standard English that was once used. Whether it be texting, a paper in class or a tweet or post on a social media network you can see the change and poor language used at times. However, the abbreviations and short text are not bad there have been many positive factors for the change in intellectual development. Teenagers just have to watch the way that we use our grammar and text. My rule is the right grammar at the right time. Between friends you may talk as you please, when it comes to formal writing in the classroom you need to be able to switch your grammar. If we can find ways to do this than our generation will do just fine.
Browning, Blair, and Jimmy Sanderson. “The Positives and Negatives of Twitter: Exploring How Student-Athletes Use Twitter and Respond to Critical Tweets.” International Journal of Sports Communication 5 (2012): 503-521. Print.
Chasts, Roz “The I.M. of Romeo and Juliet.” They say I say with reading. New Yorker, 2002.
Kassing, Jeffrey W., and Jimmy Sanderson. “Fan-Athlete Interaction and Twitter Tweeting Through the Giro: A Case Study.” International Journal of Sports Communication 3 (2010): 113-128. Print.
Johnson, Steven. “Watching TV Makes You Smarter” They say I say with readings. New York Times Magazine, 2005.