Text Messaging and Teenagers: A Review of the Literature
by Suzanne Porath, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Fall 2011, Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology
Abstract: Look around on any bus, in any restaurant, or standing in any line and people are text messaging. Likewise, most teenagers in America are nearly inseparable from their cell phones, not because they are constantly talking, but because they are connecting with their friends through text messaging. Although cell phones are banned in most K-12 schools, students are text messaging constantly there as well. Few adults, including teachers and administrators, understand how and why adolescents and young adults are using text messaging or how to harness text messaging capabilities in the classroom. This literature review examines the limited amount of research on the practice of text messaging for adolescents and young adults (ages 11-21), focusing on the motivation, means, and methods of text messaging. In addition, it considers how adults have successfully engaged text messaging to access and inform youth about health-related issues. In this light, some current educational uses of text messaging are highlighted, along with implications for future research.