Sunday, November 13, 2011
"It's like a habit. I always have my phone with me, so I'll be texting. If I was not here, I'd be in there texting," said Katie Hohgland, North High School senior.
Katie is like many of her friends and classmates. She is constantly connected to her phone, sending and receiving about 800 texts a day.
"If I get a text message, I have to see it. If I know I have one and I can't see it, it just bugs me. I want to know what it says," said Katie.
According to the Nielsen Company January 2011 data, teens between the ages of 13 and 17, receive and send an average of 3,705 texts per month.
Teens like Katie said some of her papers have suffered from her shorthand, developed in the course of texting.
"I didn't even know I shorthanded because I didn't realize I did it. Then I'll read the paper and like almost every other word is shorthanded so I'm like this isn't right," said Katie.
She is not alone. Her peers are also making those mistakes but not all are letting those errors pass by.
"I think it's pretty irritating because I see it in essays. If we do peer grading, people use the letter 'u' instead of the word you. They'll miss commas and periods. It just really bugs me," said Harrison Sinclair, North High School senior.
It is also bugging teachers like Elizabeth Roberts who sees fragmented sentences and limited vocabulary in her students' papers.
"It's very difficult because they are used to that shorthand, that it's always very short sentences, really choppy sentences. Working with the structure, texting has hurt that," said Roberts, North High School language arts teacher.
Text speak is also creeping into higher education and into the hands of employers.
"I have had some contact with employers who will indicate that they have seen some elements of that in some of the correspondence that they've had with candidates," said Jill Pletcher, director of Career Services at Wichita State University. "They see it a little bit and that they're not pleased with it."
Gary Brown, a career coach for the Workforce Alliance said he has seen text speak also creep into cover letters and resumes.
"I think because of texting, we're so used to just little short sentences, that when you start laying out a letter, it's a different environment. Sometimes that little short statements can sound odd if they're kind of just strung together and they don't have the proper grammar laid to them, said Brown.
Roberts said text speak can some times be an important tool in the classroom that can help students take notes.
"When they go to college, they need to know that abbreviation and shorthand writing. But they need to know that in the classroom and when they're giving peers their reviews for those annotations, that they really need to spell out what they're talking about," said Roberts.
For those like Katie, she said she won't stop texting but will be more aware of her writing.
"It's not dumbing us down. I would say it's not fully affecting us. I think if anything, it's making us think more," said Katie.