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25% of People are Prone to Using Text Words Instead of Normal English

A survey from SecurEnvoy has found that text phrases – such as C U L8r, LOL etc – have become so much part of our daily lives that one in four Brits claim they are Textlexic – prone to using text words instead of normal English. Nearly 60% think text, instant messages and social media are changing how we write – and more than 40% think they are compromising their children’s ability to write correctly.

The survey of 1,000 people, by SecurEnvoy and conducted by OnePoll, found that slightly more women than men suffer from Textlexia – at 27% compared to 23%, but the figure was highest among those living in Northern Ireland at more than a third.

By age it is perhaps unsurprising that the highest percentage of those who are Textlexic are in the 18-24 age group – but it is perhaps more surprising that the second highest percentage was among the 45-54 age group – showing the broad spread of text use.

The impact that text, instant messages and social media is having can be seen by the fact that 58% of people think it is changing the way we write – rising to 72% of people in the North East, compared to just 42% in the West Midlands. But overall people are less worried about their children, with just 40% saying they think that text, instant messages and social media are compromising their children’s ability to write correctly.

“The fact that a quarter of the population would class themselves as Textlexic, and tend to use text words rather than normal English shows the impact that texting and the mobile phone has had on society. Text words first came about when early text messages (or should I say ‘txt msgs’?) were restricted to just 160 characters and people wanted to find a way to say more with less letters. That restriction has pretty much disappeared now, except on Twitter, but the tendency to shorten words has stuck around,” said Andy Kemshall, CTO at SecurEnvoy. “Given that our survey also found that nearly 60% have received a text that they didn’t understand because it contained text speak, perhaps it is a worrying trend and a source of confusion and miscommunication.”

He continued, “These trends show the extent to which people are relying more and more on their mobile phones. This correlates with the real increase that we at SecurEnvoy have seen in companies turning their employees’ mobile phones into two-factor authentication tokens to access data securely and easily while they are out of the office. SMS is so commonplace that it makes it the obvious security choice for users, and is something they use with confidence right from the beginning.”

What is two factor authentication?

Two factor authentication (2FA) is a way of verifying a person is who they say they are. It requires the combination of two out of three possible factors – something you know – so a username, password or PIN; something you have – a credit card or token, and something you are – fingerprint. The combination of a username and password does not constitute 2FA as it is two types of the same factor.

Authentication tokens, first used over 30 years ago, generate a one time passcode (OTP) which can be entered as part of a 2FA process. They are different to PIN numbers, which are static, as they change every time and will expire within a set time. However, unlike the original physical tokens of the 80s, today OTPs can be generated by apps on a smartphone or sent via SMS making their use not only easy, but also practical.

Results breakdown: 

Do you think the phone has made you Textlexic (prone to using text words instead of normal English)?

Choice %
Yes 24.80%
248
No 75.20%
752

 

Female Male
Yes 27.14% 22.55%
133 115
No 72.86% 77.45%
357 395

 

East Anglia East Midlands London North East North West Northern Ireland Scotland South East South West Wales West Midlands Yorkshire and the Humber
Yes 24.14% 15.56% 23.64% 30.77% 27.52% 35.29% 24.71% 18.89% 26.83% 19.18% 28.21% 24.68%
14 7 39 20 30 12 21 17 22 14 33 19
No 75.86% 84.44% 76.36% 69.23% 72.48% 64.71% 75.29% 81.11% 73.17% 80.82% 71.79% 75.32%
44 38 126 45 79 22 64 73 60 59 84 58

 

18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Yes 30.77% 25.07% 23.85% 26.47% 14.85%
44 87 57 45 15
No 69.23% 74.93% 76.15% 73.53% 85.15%
99 260 182 125 86

Do you think text instant messages and social media are compromising your children’s ability to write correctly?

Choice %
Yes 41.97%
316
No 34.53%
260
Not sure 23.51%
177

 

Female Male
Yes 42.07% 41.87%
146 170
No 33.14% 35.71%
115 145
Not sure 24.78% 22.41%
86 91

 

East Anglia East Midlands London North East North West Northern Ireland Scotland South East South West Wales West Midlands Yorkshire and the Humber
Yes 46% 36.11% 41.59% 48.98% 45% 42.31% 47.76% 40.98% 41.27% 37.93% 35.11% 42.86%
23 13 47 24 36 11 32 25 26 22 33 24
No 28% 52.78% 39.82% 38.78% 33.75% 34.62% 26.87% 31.15% 38.10% 24.14% 36.17% 32.14%
14 19 45 19 27 9 18 19 24 14 34 18
Not sure 26% 11.11% 18.58% 12.24% 21.25% 23.08% 25.37% 27.87% 20.63% 37.93% 28.72% 25%
13 4 21 6 17 6 17 17 13 22 27 14

 

18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Yes 39.60% 41.53% 35.14% 45.77% 53.93%
40 98 65 65 48
No 37.62% 34.32% 47.03% 24.65% 21.35%
38 81 87 35 19
Not sure 22.77% 24.15% 17.84% 29.58% 24.72%
23 57 33 42 22

 

Do you think text, instant messages and social media are changing the way we write, for example in shorter sentences?

Choice %
Yes 57.90%
579
No 23.70%
237
Not sure 18.40%
184

 

  Female Male
Yes 57.55% 58.24%
282 297
No 19.80% 27.45%
97 140
Not sure 22.65% 14.31%
111 73

 

 

 

  East Anglia East Midlands London North East North West Northern Ireland Scotland South East South West Wales West Midlands Yorkshire and the Humber
Yes 58.62% 55.56% 48.48% 72.31% 52.29% 61.76% 68.24% 60% 68.29% 65.75% 41.88% 64.94%
34 25 80 47 57 21 58 54 56 48 49 50
No 24.14% 35.56% 26.67% 21.54% 22.02% 26.47% 17.65% 16.67% 24.39% 20.55% 30.77% 19.48%
14 16 44 14 24 9 15 15 20 15 36 15
Not sure 17.24% 8.89% 24.85% 6.15% 25.69% 11.76% 14.12% 23.33% 7.32% 13.70% 27.35% 15.58%
10 4 41 4 28 4 12 21 6 10 32 12

 

  18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Yes 52.45% 55.91% 55.23% 69.41% 59.41%
75 194 132 118 60
No 31.47% 22.19% 27.62% 16.47% 20.79%
45 77 66 28 21
Not sure 16.08% 21.90% 17.15% 14.12% 19.80%
23 76 41 24 20

 

 

Survey conducted of 1,000 employed adults in the UK. Survey commissioned by SecurEnvoy and conducted by OnePoll.


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