The results of a recent study have shown that the texting language that is used is different between the sexes.
Adolescence is a time in which self expression can feel as though it is quite challenging and complicated, and with the added number of channels that are now available for communication – from in-person to phone, video calling, emailing, social media posts, and texting, among others – online and mobile technology appear to be revealing trends in the way that teens talk.
Texting has become an especially important channel for social communication among teenagers.
This seemingly basic form of communication gives teens the opportunity to talk to others – including people from the opposite sex – without being watched over by peer groups or their parents, in the majority of circumstances. Now, research published in the Journal of Children and Media has looked into the way that this mobile technology is used, and the trends in language and how they differ between the sexes and in overall gender identity when using text.
This mobile technology based study was conducted across four different American cities within nine focus groups.
Each focus group contained participants between 12 and 18 years of age. The mobile technology investigation was designed to provide a broad understanding of the way that teens communicate over smartphones. They looked into a number of different kinds of social interaction, and what they found notable was that even over mobile devices, the historical language use differences between males and females appeared to be maintained in the texting styles used by the boys and girls who participated.
While the boys in the study viewed their mobile devices as a kind of status symbol for the performance of a certain function, girls were more interested in chatting and socializing. The boy side of a conversation was fast and direct, with a specific purpose in mind, and then it was over, for example, making arrangements to meet. One of the boys implied that long text conversations were exclusively for girls. Another called the tests that girls send “just BS”.
The girls, on the other hand, liked to socialize and converse over text, and used smiley faces and emoticons to enhance their words. They viewed texting over mobile technology as another way of building and maintaining their friendships. What was interesting was that when boys were texting girls, the guys admitted to “playing the game,” that is, using longer and emotive texts to avoid misrepresenting themselves which could lead to hurt feelings.