Teen Texting Frightens Teachers and Schools

Jaime Sarrio of the Tennessean reports that teachers are seeing keypad shortcuts creep into classwork.

Sometimes it seems like kids are using another language. And sometimes, they are.

Call it “text speak,” or “Web slanguage.” No matter how you label it, if you were born pre-Internet era, odds are you don’t understand it.

This shorthand style of writing omits vowels and punctuation in favor of numbers and abbreviations.

I know from watching my daughter and her friends that they can ‘text’ as fast as I can type. I also know that Jessica ends up making quite a few edits to her posts here because of the text effect.

Vanderbilt University is studying texting;

Vanderbilt University is analyzing data from a three-year study of how adolescents age 13 to 15 use instant messaging and Web logs to communicate.

Preliminary findings show that the way kids socialize online is similar to the way they do off, said Kevin Leander, associate professor for teaching and learning for Vanderbilt’s Peabody College.

Just as adults’ speech differs from the bar to the boardroom, children know there is a difference between text speak and proper English.

After watching my daughter and Jessica send text messages, the ‘gaming’ effect was pretty clear. It’s all about the thumbs. If the phones don’t have full keyboards, some letters require three button presses. I know from trying to browse the web using my old cell phone that it’s a tedious process. The teenagers don’t seem to think so. The rate at which they send messages is astounding.

With teens in a rural farming community averaging 68 text messages per week, texting is one of the top three forms of communication, beating out messaging online simply because of the freedom available via cell phone.

Of primary importance? The speed of replies. Teens that don’t respond to text messages quickly, or ignore them, end up outside the circle of communication. Removing cell phone privileges is tops on the list of disciplinary measures. Ground me, but don’t take my phone!

It’s a new era and I can’t wait to see the influence the tech-savvy teens will bring to the Web.


  1. Just think what it will do to search.

    I wonder how many teens are already trying to search for information on Google using text speak.

  2. DG

    I was thinking about targeting a few phrases to check search volume. ; )

  3. Now you can talk to your daughter and do market research all at the same time :)

    For once I can say that it’s a pity all our kids have grown up and were never quite in the text speak generation.

  4. hi wat are u doin this is some one u now i am next to u jk or jj




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