Impact of Texting on Literacy

Dr. Michelle Drouin

Dr. Michelle Drouin

  • Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology
  • Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne
  • Research focus on the impact of texting (and other types of technology) on literacy, communication, and relationships

Research Study

  • College students' use of textisms/text speak and their literacy levels
  • Looked at their reported use of textisms (i.e. "UR" and "2" in replace of to and too)
  • Difficult to get naturalistic data
  • Look specifically at the ability to translate the words that are commonly used and how difficult it was for students to translate back to standard language


  • Students who said that they used texting a lot have just a high literacy levels than students who do not text as frequently
  • Also no difference between translating
  • Media: "Texting is eroding the English language"
  • Students felt like textisms were having a negative effect on their standard English usage


  • Cautiously optimistic
  • Research at Coventry University: 10 & 11 year olds who can use textisms actually do better on literacy tests
  • Be aware of appropriate forums of text speak


  • Make the distinction in your classroom

Principals & Policymakers

  • Outline how much texting is allowed in the schools (Clear guidelines)
  • Put on future agenda (not enough research at the moment)