My first response to this question is that ten years ago none of us would have understood what the question means. The world changes so rapidly. There are debates already raging across the country about texting and driving. No doubt in my mind that when youngsters drive, read and text watch out!
Anyway, here comes a different problem with texting: the fear of ruining the students' writing skills. (As a long time teacher, although I did not think that I was cynical, some of their skills do no have far to fall.) Maybe that is why there is a need for this discussion. Having done some research about the issue, there are definitely two sides to the issue and probably some fence riders as well. Here is the breakdown:
Pro (It will impact writing skills): Concerned parents and teachers
Con: All "texters" and the phone makers and cellphone companies
Fence Riders (semi-neutral): The parents who do not have the energy or patience to argue with their children. (Sad dilemma!)
Some critics feel that the abbreviations and shortening of phrases will impact the students' spelling and their ability to express themselves in long thoughts. Does texting hurt writing skills? According to a recent report from Pew Internet and American Life Project, "Writing,Technology and Teens," texting is showing up in the school writing situations already.
"Out of 700 youth aged 12-17 who particpated in the phone survey, 60 per cent say they don't consider electronic communcation --e-mail; instant messaging; mobile texting--to be writing in the formal sense; 63 per cent say it has no impact on the [their] writing...and 64 per cent report inadvertently using some form of shorthand common to electronic text, including n s, incorrect grammar or punctuation."
It is understandable that teachers are concerned about the formal communication setting students believe that texting is a way of life. Our country has become interested in finding the quick way or the easiest way, not necessarily the best way to do things.
When something like texting interferes with writing skills, then more examination is needed. In talking to a teacher friend, she related that she had just read a student's paper, and in it, the student wrote:
"OMG, this is the best story." She also used a shortened form for "I love it" written with a heart.
This was a senior student on an essay test.
Punctuation skills may also lose some importance since very little is used in the texting setting. Even if texting does produce students with poor writing skills, what is to be done? The writing teacher, already struggling to get the students to write complete sentences, will have to work harder to overcome the abbreviations and informality of the texting scene. Texting is not going away until something else takes it place. Teachers will again have to fight the battle left on their doorsteps.