The Great News
- Text messaging on your cell phone is cheaper than sending a voice message.
- You can send your message out to a group of friends simultaneously.
- You can use ‘texting’ to vote in contests, buy tickets and participate in polls.
The Not-So-Great News
- You can receive harassing or intimidating messages.
- The a nonymity of text messaging means you don't always know who is ‘texting' you.
- Because kids tend to keep their phones on 24/7, bullies can access victims any where, anytime.
- People can use Web sites to send anonymous text messages that can't be traced in the same way a message from another cell phone can be.
- Marketers can send text or spam to your cell phone.
- Some students have been caught using text messaging to cheat during tests.
Some Quick Facts
- According to Decima Research, young people ages 13 to 24 are the largest group of wireless phone users in Canada .
- A recent Trendscan study found that 52 per cent of Canadian youth have their own wireless phones. This group enjoys browsing the Internet and sending emails, and is more likely to keep their cell phones on at all times and use it for chatting with friends.
- A NPD Group study found teens ages 13 to 17 spent 10% less in the past year on clothing, and had shifted their spending to their wireless phones.
Cool Uses of Text Messaging
Youth Text 2004. This was an initiative that enabled young Canadians to use their cell phones to engage in a dialogue with Canada 's political parties during the federal election. Kids could send text messages to various politicians asking them questions about issues that interested them.
King of SMS. In November 2004, a seventeen-year-old from Utah became the world's text messaging champion. Ben Cook typed his way into the Guinness World Book of Records by using his cell phone to type 160 characters in just 57.75 seconds. The message was: "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human."
Students using text messaging to stop bullies. Students in the UK are using a new service that enables them to send a text message if they are being bullied. Schools are promoting the phone number that students can forward harassing messages to which the schools then follow up on.
Great communication tool for the deaf and hard of hearing. Fifty deaf students in Toronto 's public schools are using two-way pagers to send text messages to teachers, family and friends. Participants say that text messaging helped them to become more independence and improved their social skills. One student said "I used to stay home a lot. I was bored. Now, I can contact my friends through the pager and go out."
Text Messaging Guidelines
- Guard your cell phone number. Only share it with close friends and family. Never give it to a stranger or post it in an interactive Internet environment.
- If you are being harassed through text messaging:
- Don't respond to harassing messages or engage the bully.
- Take action immediately. Tell an adult you trust — a teacher, parent, older sibling or grandparent.
- Report the problem to your phone service provider. If it's a persistent problem, you can change your phone number.
- If the text bullying includes physical threats, tell the police as well.
- Take a stand against bullying of any kind with your peers. Speak out whenever you see someone being mean to another person online. Most kids respond better to criticism from their peers than to disapproval from adults.
Is protecting my cell phone number that important?
Adults are always telling young people to guard their personal information when they're online, but is it that big a deal? Answer: It pays to be smart about protecting your personal contact information. Once your information is out there you are vulnerable to spam, harassment and unwanted solicitations.
Think about it... How useful are additional text messaging options like alerts for concerts, news or sports scores? People can request all kinds of addition text messaging features like chat services, contests, promotions, movie listing and alerts for all occasions. Are these types of functions useful or are they just hip novelties?
Text Messaging Work Sheet
- How private is text messaging?
- Pretend you are a marketing director for a movie company. Try to come up with a text messaging campaign to promote a new film.
- Think of a slogan and activities for an anti-cyberbullying campaign in your school.
- List some innovative ways governments could use text messaging to ‘get the vote out' with young people.
- What should you do if you receive a bullying or harassing text messages?
- Can you stop your phone service provider from sending spam to you? Do some research to find out how.