EFFECT OF TEXT MESSAGING ABBREVIATIONS ON THE WRITING SKILLS OF STUDENTS OF TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS

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Chapter one/Introduction

Dias (2002, 18) Widespread acceptance and use of new communication technologies in the world at large does not necessarily point to effectiveness or value in the educational context. Effective transfer depends to a large degree on the nature of the particular technology, its strengths and limitations both as a technology and as a pedagogical tool, and the social and cultural conditions that surround its use. There is always a possibility that mobile phone users will see any educationally motivated use of this technology as an unwanted incursion into their own personal, social space and as a result, would strongly reject this kind of usage.

On the other hand, within certain parameters and for certain kinds of students such a use might be welcomed. English, like the other languages, is a very complex system of rules in which sound structure and meaning are integrated for the purpose of communication. The language follows general principles called rules of grammar. These rules guide the combinations of words that convert complex meanings according to the ordering of such words. No doubt, Awoyemi (2013: 34) views it as a complex part of human psychology, a phenomenon which is orderly, meaningful and creative. The creative nature of the English language is seen in the fact that though standardized, it is very flexible; that is, it can have variations and can be subject to a complex  dynamism  Awoyemi (2013: 34) Brasa and Mous (2013: 234) . These variations may occur in its use in the level of formality of the language to suit the occasion (formal and informal use). F or instance, texting has a very negative effect on social skills and communication. People who grow up texting using improper grammar a lot prove to have poorer writing skills than people who use grammar correctly. … Also, texting is proven to negatively affect young people and adolescents’ interpersonal skills.

         Social Effects

People who are far away are now able to stay connected through text messages Lin & Tong, (2007,65) Text messaging is an easy way to keep in contact, because it reminds each  other the relationship is still going Hagan & Rice, (2007,18). As mentioned earlier, a female participant said her best friend moved away. As communication through technology-based mediums such as web-based communication and cell phones increases, it is essential to ensure that adolescents ages thirteen to eighteen possess the face-to-face social skills necessary to get by in the world Tilley, (2009,19).

Cell phones have become a vital social tool and text messaging has evolved into the preferred mode of communication among adolescents. Despite shifts in how communication occurs, it is important for this age group to be able to communicate face to-face during job interviews, class seminars, and other routine activities that might include ordering from a restaurant menu and other necessary basic communication interactions. Although it is not clear to what degree the communication skills of today’s adolescents differ from those of previous generations, face-to-face communication and traditional telephone usage does help people practice their social skills. Prior to the widespread use of cell phones, adolescents experienced firsthand reactions primarily while meeting and talking to people on the phone or in person. They were able to learn from their mistakes and successes while practicing the skills needed for successful face-to-face communication. Many adolescents mistake communication through technology as the same as actual face-to-face communication . This correlation may contribute to, and affect, their ability to communicate face-to-face with one another. While the long-term impact of technology on the quality of adolescent communication is unknown, it is evident technology has become increasingly present in the lives of adolescents Subrahmanyam & Greenfield, (2008,61). Today’s generation of adolescents uses communication technologies more than any other generation. Texting is also known as short messaging services (SMS) and instant messaging, has become 2 adolescents’ dominant mode of communication, exceeding

 

phone calls and face-to-face interaction . Reportedly between 66% and 80% of adolescents have cell phones . Roughly 80% of cell phones have Internet access Lenhart, (2011,28). Approximately 63% of adolescents report text messaging an average of 60 times per day . Adolescents dedicate approximately 90 minutes daily to text message communication

. Availability of and access to cell phones and social networking have allowed for the replacement of traditional verbal and face- to-face communication methods. They call each other a lot, because women are more interested in emotional and personal communication and in building more stable relationships than males 12 Journal of Undergraduate Research at Minnesota State University, Mankato, (2009,37) . Not only do they call each other, but they text every day. The texting allows them to feel together or just simply to say I am thinking of you. The males agree they use text messaging to show someone you care. The males text to be friendly or simply say “I am thinking of you”. However, a couple of the males said they would rather call. They like to hear the other persons voice rather than just a text message. Males are more direct than females in conversation ,  so maybe that is why the males would rather call to hear the other persons voice. The female and male focus group admitted they used text messaging to avoid communication. Lee and Perry (2007) and Adams, Baker, Daufin et al. (2008) agreed with the displacement theory, that text messaging is displacing face-to-face communication. I asked the focus groups,  since they admitted to using text messaging to avoid communication, “Do you think text messaging is displacing face-to-face communication?” All of the females, disagreed with the notion of text messaging displacing face-to-face communication. One participant said the phone displaces face-to-face  communication, not text messaging. However, text messaging is part of the phone, but she clarified the phone calls did the displacing, not the text messaging. This notion of a different technology already displaced face-to-face communication concurs with Lazarfelds (1948) research that new technology displaces face-to-face communication like the radio and the TV. Only one male in the focus group thought text messaging displaced face-to face communication. He explained he uses text messages to directly displace face-to-face communication and even avoid it. Text messaging is new technology and in the past all new technology has displaced face-to-face communication. Perhaps a couple of reasons why the college students are unaware of the displacement are because they use text messages every day. 13 Hemmer: Impact of Text Messaging on Communication Published by Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2009 It has become a ritual, like brushing your teeth. And text messaging is only a small part in displacing face-to- face communication as phone calls, TV, radio, the internet, and

 

even iPods displace, as well. All of the males thought text messaging was trendy. The males said text messaging demonstrates your class. Plus, text messages represents the generation they grew up in. Leung (2008) states text messaging is very stylish in Japan. However, none of the females thought text messaging was trendy. They all agreed it is technology, and even their parents do it from time to time. The females said text messaging is not trendy and the males said text messaging is trendy. This is a difference between the genders. However, I  was surprise the females did not think text messages are trendy and the males thought text messages are trendy. Perhaps, the males like and use technology more often than females. The males may understand technology more and therefore think it is pretty cool. While the females view text messages as just another way to communicate and everyone uses text messages.