Thursday, August 22, 2019
SMS consolidates Essay Example for Free
SMS consolidates Essay Today SMS has become such a common mode of communication between youth peer groups that it has now become a mindset or norm amongst this young community and is no longer something that the youths even think about when using.  Of the 20 youths polled in our survey, 40% of the youths send between 5 and 10 SMS daily, and 20% send 15 or more SMS per day (Appendix 1, Figure 1). The reason for the enormous popularity of SMS amongst the youths in Singapore is, firstly, due to the fact that this mechanism of sending and receiving messages costs less. Sending an SMS message costs only five cents with some organisations offering users 500 free SMS messages a month. SMS is particularly suited for short messages like see you in the canteen at 2pm because SMS is much cheaper than calling someone and giving the same message. Calling someone to give the same message would invariably take more time and hence more cost. Secondly, sending SMS helps to save time, as it is an instantaneous form of communication. This is especially useful for youths in school, because very often they can only use their mobile phone in the strict constraints of break times. Also, SMS provides a very convenient method of exchanging small bits of information between young mobile users. The convenience of leaving messages when the other party is unreachable is one of the pros of SMS. Using SMS, one can get the message across even if they are unable to contact their friends. This function of SMS allows youths to have greater accessibility to their friends, hence its popularity. Thirdly, SMS allows the youth to feel more comfortable contacting people that they do not know very well because in contrast to voice communication, SMS is considered less personal. Certain things that teens dare not say to another person face-to-face can be done on SMS. Where shyness used to prevent some from communicating their feelings, text messaging has fully opened the gates.  Texting is considered less nerve-wracking and embarrassing than asking a girl for a date face-to-face.  Fourthly, at functional and symbolic levels, SMS allows youngsters to demonstrate that they are part of a social network and elevate their status within that network. The use of SMS consolidates a community of peers and allows them to differentiate themselves and their peers from others, such as adults. Within their small social networks, the use of particular words and symbols that are incorporated as SMS language also helps differentiate the networks through such common and tacit knowledge that is only shared by the community members. It provides a way of signifying group or community membership, as a way of marking outsiders and giving the group a clearer identity. Among the reasons for the popularity of SMS, most of the youths polled indicated that the convenience of SMS is the most favourable outcome of SMS. Also the survey shows that the greater accessibility to people and the time-saving factor are important outcomes of SMS (Appendix 1, Figure 2). CONS OF SMS TO YOUTH As described above, SMS has gained popularity among the youths due to its many advantages. However, there are also cons of SMS to the youth. In our survey, most youths indicated that addiction to SMS and language usage are unfavourable outcomes of SMS (Appendix 1, Figure 3). Now we shall go on to explain in detail the cons of SMS. Firstly, SMS is helpful and convenient to the youths, and hence they are in danger of getting addicted to SMS. A news report in London states that not finding a new message could be upsetting, especially for youngsters.  To them, receiving a message implied importance, boosted self-esteem, and knowledge that somebody cared and thought of them.  Many youngsters were paranoid and started worrying upon not receiving text messages.  Hence, they were constantly checking their mobile phones for new messages. It is clear that SMS addiction can potentially lead to serious distraction for the youth, especially when they start to expect people to drop them messages all the time. Furthermore, SMS is also distracting for youths who are still schooling. They can send SMS when the lessons are being delivered, dividing their attention span between listening to the teacher or lecturer. Thus these youths are unable to concentrate in class. Since SMS addiction has such serious repercussions, we are interested to find out what the youths feel about it. One question in our survey seeks to establish if the youths themselves think they are indeed hooked to it. The survey results (Appendix 1, Figure 4) show that 45% of the youths pooled stated that they are either addicted, or most probably addicted to SMS. A further 20% were neutral to the idea, and 35% indicated that they are either probably not addicted, or not addicted at all. These results are relatively close to one another, and hence not very conclusive. As such, we shall look at another question that asked what is the longest period they have gone without SMS. As high as 75% of the youths revealed that they have only gone without SMS for about 1 to 3 hours (Appendix 1, Figure 5). This time frame is rather small, and as such, we conclude that youths here do show some signs of being addicted to SMS. Secondly, just like the Internet, SMS has its side effects. Spam SMS is common nowadays as messages, especially jokes, are just forwarded blindly to anyone. Many parents worry that messages carrying fraudulent and pornographic content may harm their teenager children. However, from our survey, we learn that SMS spam is not ranked very highly as an unfavourable outcome of SMS (Appendix 1, Figure 3). This could be because messages with vulgar contents are relatively less common than jokes, and thus perhaps youths like the jokes sent, such that spam generally does not bother them. Thirdly, SMS serves as a threat to the youth relationship with their peers too. Misunderstanding and miscommunications can arise due to SMS. It is extremely difficult to discern tone in SMS, just as in email. What seems to the sender to be a completely innocuous message may be grossly misinterpreted by the recipient, causing certain discomfort if not irreparable harm. Also, there might be occasions when they compose a message and sent it to the wrong person. If the message happens to be about the person that they sent to, their relationship would be soured. Finally, using SMS will also cause loss of verbal communication, and affect our language usage. These aspects lead to stronger implications on the youths, and as such, they will be discussed in further details in the following section, which explain the social impacts of SMS on youths. THE SOCIAL IMPACT OF SMS ON YOUTH After ascertaining the reasons on why SMS is so popular, and the cons of SMS, we shall now focus on the social impact of SMS on youths. Firstly, one important social impact that SMS has on the youths is that it has altered the means of communication among the youths. Nowadays, some of them rely more on SMS than verbal communication. Indeed, this trend is shown through our survey: 70% of the youths polled prefer SMS to verbal communication (Appendix 1, Figure 6). As briefly mentioned under the cons of SMS, this has serious implications as the loss of verbal communication could cause youths to become shy, and be unable to express themselves effectively in future. In many situations too, one is relatively more comfortable sending a message via SMS than talking over the phone. Hence, SMS is seen as an easier method to get certain messages across such as breaking up with a girlfriend. This could be why young people breaking up via SMS is common. Furthermore, SMS has altered the means of communication by decreasing physical interaction among youths with people around them. Though due to its many advantages, SMS helps youths keep in touch with a greater number of people, this form of interaction be lose out in significance to the traditional form of meeting up and chatting with friends. This could have an important long-term effect on culture, interaction and attitudes of the youth within society. In addition, another way of how SMS has altered the means of communication is that, unlike in the past, arranging an outing beforehand is no longer needed, as SMS is instantaneous. People are now no longer as difficult to reach as before, and so a simple SMS message is often enough to arrange a physical meeting and night out with friends. Secondly, another social impact that SMS has on the youths is that there is now a change of language among the young SMS users. Due to the inherent limitations of 160 characters per SMS, there is a need for abbreviations or short-forms to save space, so as to squeeze as many ideas as possible in one single SMS. Sending messages like See you tonight at 830pm could be replaced by c u tonite, 830. Spelling out the entire word would take up more spaces such that more than one message would need to be sent, increasing the cost of sending. Hence short-forms have evolved to make SMS more efficient, less time consuming and cheaper. From our survey, we can conclude that 90% of those polled use short-forms in their SMS (Appendix 1, Figure 7). Hence, we can infer that SMS encourages a certain inventiveness to a language,  because the youths make use of abbreviations and smileys to maximise space, and to express emotions. As such, SMS is sometimes seen as a new language to youth culture.  Now, the word manipulations that the youths use, are increasingly being understood by other users.  As briefly mentioned under the cons of SMS, the form of language manipulation due to SMS usage has a detrimental effect on language as too many short-forms are used. Dr. Cynthia McVey, a psychology lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, summed this up very well, Texting was second nature to a generation of young people. They do not write letters, so sitting down to write or type an essay is unusual and difficult. They revert to what they feel comfortable with. Texting is attractive and uncomplicated.  Hence some youths even unconsciously carry on with the usage of short-forms in their daily schoolwork, not only irritating their teachers, but also causing themselves to lose marks.