Students and textingIt seems that students are "addicted" to texting these days. I have known students who have thousands of texts per month. What kind of effect do you believe this has on children...

Students and texting

It seems that students are "addicted" to texting these days. I have known students who have thousands of texts per month. What kind of effect do you believe this has on children who text too much?

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Texting mania" is not going away anytime soon, so it's incumbent upon us to figure out how to make it work for us.  I say "us," meaning teachers, though I actually left the profession in December.  I can't tell you how many texts I received from students--during classes--after I left. Of course I scolded them and told them to get back to work, but here are my observations.

They were only texting when they could.  By that I mean the teachers weren't paying enough attention or the classwork was not engaging them.  Study halls, choir, and art were the major classes where students were texting; of the literally hundreds of texts I received, not one student indulged during physics or statistics or chemistry. More engaged, it seems to me, means less opportunity for texting.

While I was teaching, I was appalled at how many texts students received from their parents throughout the day.  It's hard to fight that.  The culture has changed, and we probably need to adapt.

This is anecdotal only, of course, but students will text during classes because they're good at it, they're often bored, and they can.  The viable practice of allowing texting during non-academic times, as mentioned above, is a good one.  It will allow the "fringe" texters--those who rarely break the rules to text--to avoid disobedience; and it may curtail some of the illicit texting during class. 

Another issue, of course, is the misguided belief they have that a texting relationship is also a friendship.  That may or may not be true, as such "easy" communication is not necessarily reflective of meaningful friendship.

Even worse is the problem, also mentioned above, of inappropriate or offensive or even dangerous use of texting. If schools allow texting in any way, and a bullying or other inappropriate text is sent from the school building, is the school in any way liable?  It's pretty unknown legal territory, but probably not for long.

Technology is almost always a love/hate relationship for me, and texting is no exception. 

dastice eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Texting is indeed becoming an addiction in our society, and not just for teenagers.  A recent headline I saw read that adults are shown to text behind the wheel far more than teenagers.  I have been in social settings as well as professional settings where people have been texting nonstop even as they are "engaged" in conversations with me.  In fact, more and more business is beginning to be conducted via text message.  It is a quick, easy form of communication...perfect for our fast-paced, convenience-seeking society.  This text-addiction may actually transfer into a useful real-world skill for our students.

That said, it does has its disadvantages both in and out of the classroom.  In addition to the issues discussed in the second post, I think a major concern is a decline in the art of conversation.  Oral communication skills are underdeveloped.  It can be argued that the same is true of written communication skills, particularly when it comes to spelling and grammar.

Schools should certainly have rules in place as to when and where cell phones can be used on campus, and confiscating the phones if these rules are broken seems like a perfectly reasonable consequence.  Parents can also help to reduce texting by eliminating unlimited texting from their children's cell phone plans and enforcing consequences when the provided number of texts is exceeded.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that texting is an issue on which we, as teachers/ educators, have to get a good handle.  The days of "banning texting" might need to be reconsidered.  I am not a fan of it, but simply put, the kids are getting so good at outwitting the adults on it that we have to come up with a new system.  I am very afraid of continuing the Status Quo that "bans texting" in a monolithic manner.  Not only are they good at it, and better at keeping it covert, it might actually be threatening what we do with kids texting test questions to other students, and other uses of texting that are academically improper.  I think we need to find a way to use texting in the classroom setting.  There is a way for students to text their answers during in class discussion, or use a site called "backchannel" to post thoughts and text ideas during a lecture or a presentation.  We need to find a way to integrate into what we do.  Then, we will have the credibility to discuss with our students appropriate and inappropriate uses of technology in the classroom setting.  Even if we don't embrace texting in this manner, we need to have a new discussion point or paradigm as to how to deal with texting in the classroom setting.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have a 'phone box' in my classroom. Students are asked to put their phone in at the beginning of the lesson (mine goes in too) and take away at the end. With humour and encouragements they agreed to 'give up' their phones and get into the lesson. I introduced this after they had all performed poorly in an assessment. They all complied and some actually said they liked to be without their phone - one student in particular was constantly texted by her mother!

I allow phones to be used as timers and calculators in class, as well as cameras. By acknowledging that they are a tool we can use (I'm not up to texting in answers yet!) we came to an 'acceptable use' policy. Students with emergency situations can keep hold of their phones but otherwise we only use them when the application is needed. We communicate with each other in class - not those outside, and we use talk to do it .It is a really tough habit for kids to break, though, and I don't win with everyone. 

marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Texting is such an issue in our school that we finally banned it last year and any student caught using a cell phone in class will have it taken away and disposed of! 

The reason we've had to be so hard-core on this issue is that texting in class is distracting and a time waster for both the student and the teacher.  Class is a learning time, and anything a student has to "say" to a classmate, relative, or friend can wait until break, lunch, or after school.

This isn't to say that a student can't have a cell phone at school!  They just have to have it on vibrate and put away in their backpack during class.  If a parent has an emergency and needs to get in touch with their child, they can leave a message in their child's voice mailbox or get in touch with me.  This way, all teacher's classes are productive and no student is providing a distraction for the rest of the class.

lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two major concerns, for me, in having kids texting during school--not paying attention in class, and cheating on tests. The kids have phones. I don't see any way for that to not be the case, because phones are small and easily concealed. I'm not sure if just telling them to have them out on the desks and turned off during tests is the answer; at least that way I can see where they are. Right now, our school's policy is they can't have them on during school, and that is very hard to enforce. It is the parents I don't get--they know the rule, text their kids during school, and get mad when the phone is confiscated (till the end of the day.) Really--is what you have to tell your kid THAT important? I doubt it.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Agreeing with the wisdom of akannan in #2 I do believe that we need to perhaps change our thinking on texting and try to embrace it as a new form of communication which we have to accept is a fact, whatever our personal views on texting. I guess it is possible to view texting rather perniciously as a form of Orwellian "newspeak", but at the same time it does feature quick communication. Rather worryingly to my mind, is that a recent survey found that only 5% of texts actually tried to communicate anything serious - the rest was just chatting or pointless coments. This does say something about the superficiality of our communication in today's society.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It may be a losing battle overall, so we have chosen to limit where they can be used - before school, lunch, after school only.  In between classes (causes them to be late) and in classes obviously are against the rules, and phones can be confiscated.

Texting isn't a bad thing, students are just foolish in what they text each other.  When it is dangerous or defamatory to anyone, then you have to step in, but I find that the minute it turns into an us and them tug of war, we try to catch them they try to fool us scenario, we lose.  I'd choose the middle ground - reasonable rules, consistently enforced,

copelmat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Agreeing with other posts above, I feel it is important that we teach students the appropriate times to use and the appropriate purposes to use text messages in an educational setting. I'm afraid that by banning phones and text messages in schools we have only contributed to the problem and exacerbated some students' desire to break the rules.

Like so many other things, text messaging can certainly be an effective tool, but some instruction and ettiquette is certainly needed in the use of that tool.

ktmagalia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm reminded of Oprah's new cause, the "No Phone Zone"asking drivers to refrain from texting and using the cell phone while driving due to increased accidents.  I'm thinking, maybe teachers of America need Oprah to stand behind a "No Phone Zone" in the classroom due to the negative effects on learning.  Aren't the dangers of lowered attention in the classroom just as dangerous to our future? Just a thought.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with many of the above posts... but to take it in another direction, the subject of "sexting" has affected two schools I've worked in (both public and private).

As a parent as well as a teacher, this, to me, is just plain scary.  I will seriously consider allowing my own children to have free-reign of their cell phones in middle and high school.

thewanderlust878 | Student

Even as a student myself I believe that texting too much is a huge problem. Unfortunately it can be seen at all grade levels and ages, from elementary school to college. When I think of an addiction to texting the first problem I think of is cyber bullying. Eventually whoever you text will get mad at you at some point, which will cause arguments, and perhaps friendships could be broken and rumors spread. I believe that if student's texted less, along with a decrease in social media use things could change. 

diarie | Student

Texting nowadays, is having devastating effects on the students. They post intimate details with no thoughts to the consequences. This upsets their education and the human norms. During the period of education, mobile phones (specially) should be abandoned. In countries like Sri Lanka, the usage of mobile phones inside the schools are not allowed. That is against the law. But, the students who become addicted to texting etc are used to bring them to schools in secret. To prevent this from happening, bags should be checked daily. Students must be taught on the bad side of texting and this may cause them to abolish those immoral effects. They should be educated thoroughly on the topic, "Why texting should be abolished", (maybe at school). They can be provided with articles about iys bad side.

In my country, a student had to face death due to texting with a mobile phone while thunder was on sky. This texting had made her overcome her intelligence and common sense, that she risked her life to text with an unknown person. She had also been cheated by the man, who was married and also had children.


Therefore, students can easily get addicted to such things and later on, they will definitely suffer.