Mane (CRIN 604)

         Digital tools in education

April 20, 2010

Please answer the phone! Is texting replacing “real” voice conversations?

Filed under: Texting — mepada @ 7:56 pm

I am a mom to two young adults (26 and 24), one teen-ager (16) and a grand-mother to two grand-children (6 and 4).

What do they all have in common? TEXTING!

I basically do not use the phone to call them to talk to them any longer since they do not pick up. If I want to communicate with them I have to text them! … and then, they will text back!

The BBC News has published an article titled “’Texting eclipses talking’ among US teens” where they explained that texting is indeed the most popular form of communication among young people in the US and I dare guess in other parts of the world as well. One factor that has helped this phenomena is phone companies who offer plans with unlimited texting.

Some of the findings in the study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project show the following:

  • More than 30% of teens send more than 100 texts a day.
  • Two-thirds of teenagers are now more likely to text their friends than call them on the phone.
  • 87 percent of those who text said that they sleep with, or next to, their phone.
  • Teens with cell phones who sent at least one text message a day increased from 38 percent in 2008 to 54 percent in September 2009, according to the study.
  • On the other hand, contrary to my own experience with my own young ones, the study shows that phone calls are still teenagers’ preferred method for contacting their parents.

The Washington Post quotes Amanda Lenhart (Pew researcher) who adds that “”Texting is now the central hub of communication in the lives of teens today, and it has really skyrocketed in the last 18 months”

However, what I found most interesting about this study is the differences between girls and boys. Scott Campbell, one of the study’s authors clarifies:

  • Boys don’t typically use punctuation.
  • If a girl puts a period at the end of a text message (to another girl) then it comes across as she’s mad, which explains the prevalence of smiley emoticons.

Business Week mentions the fact that this trend is not very popular with schools. “Schools, the survey found, often ban cell phones from classrooms, and some from school grounds entirely, seeing them as a “disruptive force.””

Many parents on the other hand, even though they are not happy with this new trend as well, have found some benefits to allowing their teens to use text-friendly phones and they not only  “limit cell phone” but  48 percent said they use it to “monitor their kids’ whereabouts — either by using GPS technology or calling the child to check in”

I wonder if we could find a way of integrating the technologies and applications embraced by young people today (which have become part of their everyday lives) into effective educational tools. I have a feeling my grand-children will expect and demand it! (Tamara, 6 has already asked for an iPod for her Birthday!)

BBC News:

Business Week:

The Washington Post:

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