Children who are fluent at text messaging have better literacy skills than youngsters who do not use mobile phones, scientists have said.
Researchers discovered that rather than destroying their use of English, texting improves children's ability to recognise rhymes and speech patterns.
The ten-year study, funded by the British Academy, examined the effect of the use of text messages on eight to 12-year-olds.
Researchers found children as young as five who used mobile phones are better at understanding rhymes and syllables in speech.
Psychologist Dr Clare Wood, who led the study at Coventry University, said the use of abbreviations, commonly used in text messaging, helped in the development of children's reading and writing skills.
"We were surprised to learn that not only was the association strong, but that text use was actually driving the development of phonological awareness and reading skills in children," the Daily Mail quoted Wood as saying.
The study also showed that children were subconsciously practising their spelling by regularly sending text messages.
"Texting also appears to be a valuable form of contact with written English for many children, which enables them to practice reading and spelling on a daily basis," Wood added.