Academics have claimed that text messaging, far from destroying kids' writing skills, could be a sign of . So worried parents can let out a sigh of relief.
Researchers at Coventry University examined the effect of texting on 8 to 12-year-olds and found that regular texters often possess sophisticated literacy skills.
Clare Wood, Reader in Developmental Psychology at the university, claim kids familiar with text speak had a high level of phonological awareness, an early developing skill that refers to the ability to detect, isolate and manipulate patterns of sound in speech.
"We were surprised to learn that ... textism use was actually driving the development of phonological awareness and reading skill in children. Texting also appears to be a valuable form of contact with written English for many children, which enables them to practise reading and spelling on a daily basis," Times Online quoted Woods as saying.
"With further research, we hope to instil a change in attitude in teachers and parents - recognising the potential to use text-based exercises to engage children in phonological awareness activities. If we are seeing a decline in literacy standards among young children, it is in spite of text messaging, not because of it," Woods added.
The study was funded by the British Academy.