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How Widespread is Texting?
Some teenagers send out hundreds of text messages to their friends and relatives daily. Many students are addicted to text messaging. They wander the halls and the grounds of the school peering intently downward at the text messaging device. Students have been known to be oblivious to anything around them but for the text messaging device they are holding. Too many students use text messaging to spread negative gossip about classmates. Text messaging can include cyber bullying, an ever growing problem in schools.
Some students attempt to text message during class time. Many students are adept at using the text message device while it is hidden under the desk. Texting may become very disruptive to the classroom environment, especially if a student is texting gossip about other students to friends in the class or elsewhere in the building. The negative effects of text message gossip can severely impact students.
Enforce School Rules Strictly
Always enforce school rules strictly. Most schools ban texting in school so do not let students do it in class. Take away the text messaging device and send it to an administrator.
Warn and Then Confiscate
Give several warnings if you see a student text messaging in class. After that, if the student brings the text messaging device into the classroom, confiscate it to give to an administrator. Let the administrator know you given several warnings before asking the student to surrender the device. Be sure to create a formal write-up about the disruption caused by the student’s use of the device.
Let parents know if the student is constantly trying to use a text messaging device in class. If the student keeps bringing the device to class ask the parents to hold it at home so it does not distract the student during school hours.
Talk to Class About the Hazards of Text Messaging
Text messaging may run up a phone bill and it may also damage friendships, relationships, and reputations. Teenagers are often too trusting.They may text something about one friend to another friend and then be surprised that the message is shown to the person being gossiped about. Teenagers may often allow their partner in a relationship to talk them into sharing racy text messages. They will then experience a huge amount of horror later when that person breaks up with them and sends their text messages around to other people in the school.
It is helpful to students to present a lesson about the dangers of text messaging. Ask them if they could handle having the entire school or town read the text messages they are sending to their friend. Ask them if they think it is wise to share very personal thoughts or pictures with someone who might become vindictive if they break up with them. Ask them how their reputation or chances for getting into college may be impacted if their text messages are posted online with their name attached.
Also, discuss the legal implications of texting. If a student’s text message is slanderous to another person, or if it contains racy pictures, it could break laws.
Teenagers too often do not think of the possible consequences of their actions. So talk to the class about how texting may be hazardous to their emotional health, their personal safety, and their future college and job opportunities.
Also remind students to never post personal information online. Advise them to not set up meetings with people they only know via the Internet.
A good tip to give students is that they should not send any text message that they would not be comfortable showing to their parents, or with the entire school and town seeing. Too often, messages a student considers “private" do get circulated widely through the area. Some students have a very, very difficult time handling this breach of their privacy by a friend or romantic partner whom they entrusted.
Bring in Articles About the Hazards of Text Messaging
Bring in news articles about students who have had their text messages made public or about students who have been arrested for sending text messages or emails with racy pictures. The media has discussed students who have committed suicide after being harassed by other teenagers by text message or after having someone release their private texts to the public. Let students see the unfortunate consequences that have occurred after a teenager is hurt by public viewing of the messages they thought would always stay private.