Whilst parents and teachers despair at children's blatant disregard for 'proper' spelling in favour of text language, a new report suggests abbreviations and slang could actually help improve youngsters' literacy skills.
Academics at Coventry University say there is 'no evidence' that using mobile phones negatively affects children's spelling or reading - claiming it actually has a positive impact.
The study divided pupils - who did not usually use mobile phones - into two groups, with half given a hand set to use for texting over weekends and during the school holidays. The remaining students formed a control group.
Researchers then gave the children a series of reading, spelling and phonological awareness tests over a ten-week period, and monitored their reading and spelling week-on-week.
The findings - which are due to be published in Journal of Computer Assisted Learning next month - revealed evidence of a 'significant contribution of textism use to the children's spelling development during the study'.
It also found higher results in test scores recorded by children using mobile phones after 10 weeks compared with at the start of the study.
The report's authors claim the association between spelling and text messaging may be explained by the 'highly phonetic nature' of the text slang and abbreviations used by children, combined with the alphabetic awareness needed to decode the words.
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