texting keys

Bliss or befuddlement

Good, bad, ugly, all of these? . . . This interesting infographic posted at Onlineschools.com shows a few statistics about texting. Check it out – scroll down a bit for news of texting’s impact on reading and writing.

As an English teacher, I frankly don’t believe the ubiquity of texting helps students’ writing. I do believe texting hampers vocabulary and spelling – perhaps not if it were done in moderation, but at the high volume at which it actually is practiced by young people (109.5 text messages sent, on average, per day). Pair this widespread habit with documented decreasing reading rates and skills among teenagers and adults, and some writing-skill slippage seems inevitable.

Furthermore, as a casual observer outside the powerhouse-texting age range, I confess I am confused about the high-volume texting phenomenon, period. I understand the popularity; I can see “texting fever.” I also can imagine a general lack of understanding between those in texting’s thrall and those who exist more or less independently of their phones.

Perhaps you’re an avid texter wondering why texting is banned in the classroom, perhaps wondering what could be so wrong with these social exchanges? If so, please be aware these sentiments may be shared by your skeptical teachers, profs, and other assorted “old folks”:

The Physical:
Doesn’t all that texting hurt your thumbs, hands, eyes, and neck? We’d be worried about repetitive strain injuries. . .

The Impact on Life Outside Texting:
What is so important that you must discuss it back and forth 109.5 times a day? (That’s almost seven messages an hour for 16 hours straight!)  And as you text back and forth 109.5 times, what else in your day – your life – are you missing? Also, if you really do text on an ongoing basis, how can you concentrate on any task that takes longer than a few minutes?

The Distraction:
Do you realize you’re not paying attention to your surroundings as you’re texting while walking in public places? (I see this all the time.) Isn’t that a little bizarre and potentially dangerous?

On the dangerous note: you are aware, we hope, that texting while driving is wildly irresponsible and potentially deadly? Please: never text while driving or operating any kind of machinery.

What about texting seems incomprehensible to your profs or students?

Image via mrg.bz / dharder