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1.1 Background to the study
Short message services (SMS), popularly known as text messaging, developed as an initial by- product of the cell phone industry (Faulkner and Culwin,2004). Though no linguist would counter the statement that all living languages change, the language change or expand to accommodate names for new items that are newly produced from other cultural and geographical venues. Baron (2000) says in an attempt to standardize language once and for all, is like trying to step the tides. At the end of 20th century, a new language was produced – the language of text messaging and electronic communication. This language resembles speech, with simple syntax, incomplete sentences and informal structure. The spelling conventions used in this context, is quite different from that of abbreviations and phonetics spelling. Suffice to say that, this trend has made a new form of interaction possible, unsought- of and in other times, the mainstream norms of written English have been abandoned along with the text message phenomenon, prophesies of linguistic evils that would be unleashed by the text messaging arose, and Crystal (2008) corroborates as follows:
– Texting uses new and non-standard orthography.
– Texting will inevitably erode children’s or students’ ability to spell, punctuate and capitalize correctly.
– They (students) will inevitably transfer these new habits into the rest of their school work.
Therefore, this ever increasing use of text messaging among students, especially in secondary school, has been a growing concern among educators, researchers, probably parents and the general public.
This practice is damaging the use of the English language in terms of writing which results in affecting the standard form of writing. In addition, British broadcasting company (march 4,2003), reports that text messaging has long been blamed for declining standards of spelling and grammar, particularly in paper and pencil writing. Proysen (2004) concurs that educational experience seems to reflected in students’ school-work. On this note some students use abbreviated forms and non-standard spelling in their school-work in Shendam local Government Area of Plateau state. This typically affects their writing performance in English. This situation in schools today, and those students who take text messaging habits to be exclusively positive, should not be overlooked. It is on this background, that this study was set.

1.2 Statement of the problem
It is a common experience that since the advent of mobile phones in Nigeria and its proliferation of recent, most secondary school students gain access to it and use for different purposes. One of the easiest and common way of communicating a message is through short message services especially texting. It is confusing these days when reading short text message services sent through mobile phones written by senior secondary school students and other adults because of the kind of new writing system that senior secondary school students use in writing nowadays. The kind of writing is beginning to deviate from the regular writing, full meaning, punctuation, sentence, spellings and other writing mechanism are observed and producing a generation of senior secondary school students who cannot write an essay and simple stories as a result of the influence of short text message services.
This phenomenon has become a source of worry to parents, teachers, researchers and the public at large. Because senior secondary school students cannot construct a simple sentence using standard grammar, spelling and writing format. For instance, it is common to come across some abbreviations such as “@” meaning “at” “2wks” meaning “two weeks”, “Bro” meaning “brother”, “dt” meaning “that” and so on. These could be seen as some of the causes of mass failure of senior secondary school students on essay writing. Investigating the effects of the short message services in Shendam L.G.A is the major concern in this research work.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to investigate the use of short message services and its implications on writing performance of senior secondary school students in Shendam Local Government Area. The specific objectives are stated below:
1. To identify the possible causes for using short message services that the standard writing system.
2. To examine the uses and implication of short messages service on the writing performance of senior secondary school students in Shandam LGA of Plateau state.
3. To proffer possible strategies to reduce senior secondary school students’ use of short message services.
1.4 Research questions
1. To what extent do short message services affects students of senior secondary school writing skills in Shendam LGA of Plateau state.
2. Why do senior secondary school students prefer using short message services than standard writing in Shendam LGA of Plateau state.
3. What strategies can be used to minimize senior secondary school students use of short message services in Shendam LGA of Plateau state.
1.5 Significance of the study
This research work would be of great significance or importance to individuals, students, parents or guidance to know the possible implications of the use of SMS on the students writing skills as well as providing a way of preventing the possible effects. Also, it will be of benefit to school authorities by establishing the possible effects, thereby taking strict measures at cut tailing the use of SMS by students in their writing. Finally, it will be of much benefit to educational organizations stepping up effects at discouraging the frequent use of SMS by students in their writings.
1.6 Theoretical/conceptual framework
A theoretical framework according to Ennis (1999) is a structure in research work that identifies and describes the major elements, variables or constructs that organize your study. It is used to hypothesize, understand or give meaning to the relationship among the elements that influence, affect or predict events or the outcome you specify.
This research work adopted by Maria Montessori’s theory of learning and Albert Bandura (1974) social learning theory (SLT).
According to Montessori’s theory of learning, she emphasize the influence of the child. Montessori observed that young children simply absorbs most of what goes on in their environment, because children are born with absorbent mind. This implies that senior secondary school students are influence by the kind of short message services been used by peers, friends, adults etc. which affects their writing skills.
Also the social learning theory (SLT) by Albert Bandura which believes that children are products of what they see adults do, by ways of observation and imitation. Therefore, the academic performance of writing is affected through the imitation of short message services been used in our present generation.
1.7 Delimitation of the study
This research work is restricted to Shendam LGA of Plateau state. It will be conducted in five (5) selected senior secondary schools in out of the total number of fifty-two (52) senior secondary schools in Shendam LGA.
1. Government model secondary school Shendam.
2. Christ the king centenary college Tengzet Shendam.
3. Government secondary school Gapa’al Shendam.
4. Our lady of Fatima girls secondary school Kwansan Shendam.
5. Government secondary school Kwansan Shendam.
The study is centred the effects of short message services on the writing skills of senior secondary school students in Shendam LGA of Plateau state.
1.8. Operational definition of terms
Implication: This is the resultant effect of an action.
Performance: The way in which somebody does something.
Short: This is a small length of writing which is brief and shortened or a short distance.
Message: This refers to written or spoken required pieces of information that is passed from one person to another direct or indirectly, it is also a written or spoken information that is send to somebody or leave for somebody when you cannot speak to them yourself.
Services: A system that provides medium where short messages can be sent.
Students: Students are learners or those who attends an educational institution like universities and other higher institutions.
Writing: This is a means of communicating one’s idea to others.



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