Chance Bothe is the poster child for the dangers of texting while driving. The Texas college student sent the text, "I need to quit texting, because I could die in a car accident" moments before a crash caused him to suffer a broken neck, crushed face, fractured skull and traumatic brain injuries during the January accident.
Teenagers usually use shortcuts while texting messages because they allow them to send messages quickly, but researchers have found that texting could lead to a decline in language and grammar skills.
Penn State University researchers have found that teens that use shortcuts such as homophones, which mean omission of non-essential letters and initials, to quickly and efficiently compose a text message, turn out very poor in English language and grammar skills.
"They may use a homophone, such as gr8 for great, or an initial, like, LOL for laugh out loud," said Drew Cingel, researcher at the Penn State University. "An example of an omission that tweens use when texting is spelling the word would, w-u-d."
To know the effect of texting, researchers gave middle school students in a central Pennsylvania school district a grammar assessment test and just after the test researchers handed over to the students questionnaires related to texting.
During the survey, researchers asked students to mention about their texting, such as how many texts they send and receive, as well as their opinion on the importance of texting. The researchers also asked participants to note the number of adaptations in their last three sent and received text messages.
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Then, researchers analysed the results of both texting and grammar and found that not only did frequent texting have a negative impact on the grammar, but both sending and receiving text adaptations were associated with poor language and grammar skills.
"In other words, if you send your kid a lot of texts with word adaptations, then he or she will probably imitate it. These adaptations could affect their off-line language skills that are important to language development and grammar skills, as well," said S Shyam Sundar, professor of communications, at the Penn State University.
The study also found that teens who do avoid capital letters and periods at the end of sentences while texting do not seem to affect their ability to use correct capitalisation and punctuation in the tests.
"There is no question that technology is allowing more self-expression, as well as different forms of expression. Cultures built around new technology can also lead to compromises of expression and these restrictions can become the norm," said Sundar.
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