In today’s day and age, most everyone in our society has and uses a cell phone. Most of those who use cell phones also use the SMS text messaging that these phones feature. This study takes a look at some of the effects and potential problems arising from the use of this text messaging. In the age of text messaging, where words are reduced to nonstandard abbreviations and symbols, many people question the future of literacy. With the revolutionary new forms of communication that technology has introduced comes a debate on what effect these new digital mediums have on literacy.
Text messaging is quickly becoming a primary form of communication for many people around the world, yet the research behind the rhetorical situation of text messaging is very limited.
The mainstream media claims that the short hand and abbreviated characteristics of text messaging are making children lazy, not forcing them to use the proper grammar and spelling that they learn in school.
The resulting opinion is that text messaging is to blame for low literacy rates of students. Yet as more scholarly researcher is done on text messaging as well as other digital literacies such as IM, emails, and blogs, they are discovering that the public opinion and mainstream media reports are not in line with the true interactions of children with new technologies and how it is changing the face of literacy.
The media tends to take a binary approach to new technologies, stating that they are either completely good or completely bad for the future of our society.
They see text messaging as a breakdown of the literacy of the youth. Journalist John Sutherland has been quoted as saying that text messaging is “thin and unimaginative…mask[ing] dyslexia, poor spelling and mental laziness…[and] penmanship for illiterates” (Crystal, 2008, 77). Many news reports use examples of students using “textspeak” (a term coined by David Crystal) in classroom essays and standardized tests.