Students Prefer Texting Over In-Person Conversations

Posted by Rebecca Poulsen on Nov 5, 2020 2:51:16 PM
Rebecca Poulsen

Person holding smartphone

Those who didn’t grow up with cellphones always being accessible may think that students and kids can’t get their noses out of their own electronic devices.

But did you know?

7 out of 10 Millennials and Gen Z prefer to communicate digitally via their phones or other electronic devices. 

By forcing students only to communicate face to face, you’re putting them at a disadvantage.

Let us explain.

Reasons some students choose not to speak up in class



Shy student sitting in the back of a classroom

For shy students or those that experience anxiety, speaking up in class, or approaching a teacher can be terrifying. Even if they do get the courage to speak up, they may not admit that they don’t fully understand the explanation given.

"I am very shy in class and don't like to approach my teacher or stay after school. However, I feel much more confident working with a tutor online who is there for just the purpose of helping me and only me. He or she won't compare me to my other classmates and make me feel stupid. In class, I feel silly asking questions, but I'm supposed to ask questions during my online session." 

- TRiO PhotoStudy user

Shy or anxious students often have worries going through their head like:

  • What if I take up too much class time?
  • Will other students be annoyed with me for taking time to ask a question?
  • Does the teacher want to stop what they are doing to give an explanation?
  • What if I don’t clearly ask the question?

Students may opt-out of asking their questions, even if they don’t understand the concept being discussed. But texting or email allows shy or anxious students to ask their questions without an audience, which can provide them with a safer and more comfortable learning environment.


Social Rejection

Person standing in a dark hallway

When a student speaks up in class to ask a question or admit they don’t understand something, they are essentially announcing to the entire class that they are lost, behind, stuck, etc. That’s not a great feeling for many students. Students may worry about what their classmates will think of them for speaking up and asking a question. The alternative option is to stay quiet, pretending they know what’s going on. 

Being judged by the teacher is another real fear many students face. Even if a teacher accepts questions and is willing to explain something further, students may worry that the teacher will begin to rank them or think less of them for not keeping up with the concepts.

One study found that some students prefer to use a chatbot to answer their questions because it provides them with a safe environment with no judgments or expectations. The students feel that they are in control of their questions and feel more comfortable with the situation.



Why Students Prefer Texting Over Face to Face Conversations

Person smiling at their smartphone

Flexible response time

So why don’t students call instead of text? According to Forbes, students worry about interrupting someone’s day by calling them. Texting allows them to send a message, and the recipient can respond whenever they want.

Provide a thought out answer

Texting allows people to think about what they want to say and get out all of their thoughts. You can write, re-write, and delete your thoughts before you send any of them. 


Texting is something you can take pretty much anywhere you go. You can communicate via text while you’re waiting in line, riding the bus, and even when using the restroom (66% of adults bring their phone with them to the bathroom!) Students never have to miss out on a conversation when they can take them anywhere they go.

Adjust to new standards

Not every student feels comfortable raising their hand in class or reaching out to the teacher via email. Have empathy for the students that struggle with shyness, anxiety, and social judgment. 

How to adjust: Use online tutoring services

Person doing online school on their laptop on the couch

If some students are too nervous to talk in class and won’t chat with the teacher after the lecture, what options are there to help them succeed in school if they’re feeling behind or lost?

Online tutoring with chatbot features offers a variety of perfect options for students who prefer texting over face-to-face conversations. Here’s why:

  • 24/7 availability to ask any question
  • Rapid responses to questions
  • Students can ask questions without worrying about interrupting class 
  • No appointments necessary
  • Emailing the teacher isn’t always reliable
    • Email gets lost (1 teacher for dozens of student’s emails makes for a pretty crowded email box)
    • Email takes much longer, often 1-2 business days, to get a response
  • More accessible for students to retrieve conversation from chatbot
  • Chatbots can answer FAQ quickly, so teachers don’t have to

Chatbots and Online tutoring are especially important for students to have access to during the time of a pandemic. When face-to-face options are limited, students need other options to get homework help. Technology is here to stay, which is why it’s so important to adapt to this new form of communication.


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