An Exploration of the Views of Teachers Concerning the Effects of Texting on Children’s Literacy Development

David Wray
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 14  •  2015  •  pp. 271-282
Texting, or text messaging, refers to the use of mobile phones to type and send brief, electronic messages over a telephone network. Because such messages are limited to 160 characters and are typed on a small phone keypad, texters tend to employ a great many abbreviations in conveying their messages. This has led to widespread spelling adaptations, for example, “BRB” (be right back), “LOL” (laughing out loud), and “CUL8ER” (see you later).
The research in this paper aimed to examine the views and opinions held by teachers about the impact of texting on children’s literacy development. Twenty-seven primary teachers were interviewed in depth and a number of key themes emerged. These teachers did express some negative view about the impact of texting, and of technology use generally, upon their students’ literacy, although many also mentioned some positive effects. A majority did feel concerned about the effects of textisms, but these feelings were tempered by a range of other factors. None of them blamed the use of textisms exclusively for declining levels of student literacy, suggesting also that the impact of student “street slang” was a significant influence as was the fact that many of their students spoke English as an additional language.
These outcomes suggest that the media portrayal of this issue has been over-simplistic at best.
texting, mobile phones, literacy, teachers
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