Surprising new research has revealed that young people's obsession with text messaging is actually improving their literacy rather than harming it. Previously experts thought that the mobile phone craze damaged spelling and writing abilities among teenagers because abbreviated rather than complete words are used.
As Lucy Ward, of The Guardian, said: "The leap in popularity of mobiles and SMS (text messaging) among children and teenagers over the past five years has prompted concern that the literacy of school pupils could suffer." But new findings suggests that in fact the opposite is true.
The Times's Adam Fresco, reported that: "A two-year study revealed that youngsters are more literate than ever before." Research has connected these improved writing skills with the enthusiasm of youngsters for texting.
SMS messaging encourages teens to communicate using the written word instead of speech. As Ward added: "Texting puts a premium on speed and being concise." This has resulted in a noticeable improvement in the spelling and vocabulary of pupils and has also meant that their written work has brevity. In some subjects this is beneficial but in others it can cost pupils valueable marks.
Text messages are often written in a uniquely coded language made up of abbreviations. For example, 'c u l8r' means: see you later. Some mobile phone companies have actually come up with small booklets of terms to promote more texting. It was these short-cuts which originally caused fears of damage to written work. As Veenal Raval, of City University, London, said: "The fear across the media is that children don't understand the need to code switch - switch between standard English grammar and what is acceptable communication on a social level."
Yet, it seems today's youth have managed to contradict these studies. In fact it has been proven that the abbreviations used, help children to learn how words divide into syllables. Cambridge University's Alf Massey, noted: "The quality of many features of writing by school leavers has improved over the past decade." Apparently, the SMS generation are out-spelling, out-writing and out-performing people a lot older than them who did not grow up texting their friends.