More Isn't Always Better in Texting Preschool Parents, Study Finds

July 23, 2018

By Marva Hinton

As more schools consider sending text messages to parents to encourage behaviors that support their child's education, a new research paper finds that it's possible to overdo it when it comes to effectively communicating through texts.

Earlier this month, the National Bureau of Economic Research published a working paper that examined the impact of the frequency of text messages preschool parents received in a program designed to help them get their children ready for kindergarten.

The researchers found that parents who received five messages a week were more likely to opt out of the program than those who received three messages or one message.

"It's totally possible that there's such a thing as information overload from getting five text messages a week," said David Song, a PhD candidate at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a CEPA research assistant who collaborated on the study.

The findings, which are undergoing peer review, would seem to be timely.

"Right now the rage in education policy is to send text messages," said Kalena Cortes, one of the study's co-authors and an associate professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and a visiting professor at Stanford University's Center for Education Policy Analysis, or CEPA, Labs.