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Posts tagged ‘texting’

The High Cost of Digital Distraction

girl textingAdults, teenagers—and even many elementary school students—are spending more and more time with smart phones and tablets. These devices that we carry around in our pockets, purses, or backpacks certainly add convenience to our lives, but do they come with a cost?

“Yes, they do,” said Dr. David Greenfield, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction. “When we over use our devices, we lose track of time and space.”

He said that research shows 80 percent of an average person’s time in front of a smart phone, tablet, or computer is not productive time. Read more

Teens Educated on Dangers of Distracted Driving

Woodbury students

Nonnewaug High School 11th graders (from left) Stephanie Lewis, Allie Caselli, and Hannah McCollom were instrumental in designing a distracted driving video contest for their peers.

It’s a simple but important message—don’t text and drive.

And it’s the center of a new distracted driving campaign that kicked off today at TheaterWorks in Hartford, aimed at educating teens about the dangers of texting and driving.

Governor Malloy proclaimed today no texting and driving day in Connecticut, telling teens to “put down the phone and stop texting.”

The Governor reported sobering statistics—more than 70 people are killed in Connecticut and another 7,000 are injured each year due to distracted driving.

CEA President Sheila Cohen said, “As teachers, we care about the well-being of our students, and we want to educate them on the dangers of texting and driving. This campaign will promote the education of responsible driving behavior to teens and impress on them the importance of driving safely without distractions to keep them and others on the road safe from harm. Raising awareness and educating students about this preventable tragedy are key to saving them.”

CEA joined the governor, Attorney General George Jepsen, members of the Connecticut Departments of Transportation and Motor Vehicles, AFT-CT, and corporate sponsors to raise awareness of the dangers, and encourage everyone to immediately take the pledge against texting and driving at

The program will visit schools in East Hartford, Manchester, Middletown, and Durham over the next week and will include a distracted driving video contest.

Three 11th grade students from Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury are part of the Department of Motor Vehicles Teen Advisory Council and were instrumental in designing the contest.

Stephanie Lewis, Allie Caselli, and Hannah McCollom said it’s an important message that can save lives.

Caselli said, “Teens should pay more attention to the video message because it involves teens talking to teens, and that’s more effective than being lectured to by parents.”

The campaign will also focus on a new documentary “From One Second to the Next,” directed by acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog. The documentary focuses on the aftermath of texting and driving, told through the stories of people whose one second of inattention caused fatal crashes—delivering the message—no text is worth a life.

You can watch the documentary below.

Added Sept. 20, 2013

At the campaign’s first stop in East Hartford, high school teachers were very positive about the program. East Hartford Education Association President Paul Apostalon said, “I think it’s a great program. You could hear a pin drop when the students were watching the documentary. The message really seemed to be getting through to the kids.”

Social studies teacher Todd Szwed said, “All the kids here are going to be driving soon, if they’re not already. The video does a good job of showing the consequences of texting and driving. It’s just not worth it.”

Texting: Does it Really Hurt Students’ Grammar?


Despite popular misconceptions, research doesn’t indicate that texting hurts students’ grammar or literacy. Photo by Adan Garcia via Flickr.

No LOL Matter: Tween Texting May Lead to Poor Grammar Skills” said Science Daily. “OMG! Tween texting may lead to poor grammar” proclaimed ChicagoNow.

They were both reporting on a study published in the journal New Media and Society that found tweens’ use of techspeak correlated with negative scores on a grammar assessment. It was an easy study for the mainstream press to run with, as it confirmed what many people already think — but are the headlines accurate?

Linguists, professionals dedicated to the scientific study of language, don’t think so.

Josef Fruehwald, a Ph.D. candidate in linguistics  at the University of Pennsylvania, found fault with the study’s definition of grammar and the test the study used to judge students’ grammar ability.

There is research backing up Fruehwald’s position.

A 2009 study in the Journal of Literacy Research of college students who used text speak found that it did not hurt their literacy as compared to students who did not use text speak.

Text speak, or techspeak, is the use of numbers and shortened alternative spellings of words. Text speak may be declining with the increased use of smart phones that have full QWERTY keyboards.

A 2011 study of 10- to 12-year-old Australian children’s text-messaging practices found a positive correlation between children’s use of text-message abbreviations and general spelling ability.

Professor Clare Wood, the lead author of a study presented at the British Psychological Society’s Developmental Section Conference, said, “In recent years there has been widespread concern about the impact that children’s texting behavior may have on their developing understanding of written and spoken language conventions. However, surprisingly little research has been undertaken to examine such claims.”

She continued, “There is no reason to assume that just because children play with the representation of written language when they are texting that this will somehow damage or undermine their appreciation of standard grammar over time.”