Concerns have been raised that an increase in the use of 'textisms' like 'wot u doin 2nite?' and 'waz up' could be damaging children's reading and spelling ability. But, a new study has shown that frequent use of text abbreviations does not harm kids' literacy - and may even improve it.
For the study, Beverly Plester and her colleagues at Coventry University in the UK asked 88 children aged 10 to 12 to write text messages describing 10 different scenarios.
When they compared the number of textisms used to a separate study of the children's reading ability, they found that those who used more textisms were better readers.
Plester said that preliminary results of the follow-up study seem to suggest that textisms improve literacy.
She believes that this is because textisms are phonetically based.
"Phonological awareness has long been associated with good reading skills," New Scientist quoted Plester, as saying.
Exposure to the written word in any form is also linked to improved literacy.
"These kids are engaging with more written language and they're doing it for fun," Plester added.
The study has been published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology.