back to article Texting: Good for kids after all?

A study of 88 British kids, aged between 10 and 12, has discovered that those who regularly text have better reading skills despite the use of txt abbreviations. The increasing use of abbreviations, phonetic spellings and the dropping of vowels is a constant source of irritation to the Daily Mail-reading crowd, who happily …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one...

    To immediately make the distinction between reading and writing?

  2. A. Lewis
    Thumb Down


    A whole 88 kids. Gosh. I am truly underwhelmed.

    This passes for a scientific study?

  3. Matthew Terrell
    Paris Hilton



    Parish because it's the end of the language as we know it... she would be upset!

  4. Russ
    Thumb Down

    Where are we heading.....

    I cant wait for the future when all these kids have to actually apply for a job 'in writing'. That will be the first point of failure, because most of them cant write, let alone follow instructions. I'm an IT person and I see this problem daily. Spelling has become atrocious. To encourage 'texting' as a learning tool is hilarious! I have always had an issue with teaching kids to spell the words phonetically, just to re-teach them the 'proper' way later. Now with 'text abbreviations' it will just make things worse. l33t speak was/is funny, but could you imagine if THAT was adopted as the standard...


  5. Warhelmet

    A sample of 88 kids?

    Yes, well, proper statistical training does not exist for journalists.

    Texting is a consequence of ridiculous inertia in the mobile world. You would have thought that mobile email/instant messaging would have caught on and destroyed texting. The pricing of texting is a total rip off, especially for PAYG customers. And that crappy letters imposed on a phone keypad interface? Sheesh. Microwriter anyone?

    The prevalence of texting holds back progress.

    I H8 TXTN! LOL!

  6. John A Blackley

    Carts and horses

    Would the 'researchers' at the University of Latest Irrelevance care to look at the relationship between what the kids text and the words they're abbreviating?

    Knowing how to read, write and define the whole word that I'm abbreviating in text is an entirely different measure of 'literacy' than simply knowing the text abbreviation and having some sketchy idea of what it means.

    Please, no more justifications of our declining abilities.

  7. Lupus

    @ Russ

    Take pity on those of us out of school who never had legible handwriting.

    But on the subject, am I really the only person over the age of 15 who actually likes text messaging? Surely I must be the only one who abbreviates NOTHING.

  8. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @ Russ

    Texting is mostly what my phone is for. And I only abbreviate if I'm really stuck for space.

  9. Paul

    ths shd suprs no1

    Why is anyone surprised? Reading and writing improves literacy. It doesn't matter so much what you read or write, just as long as you do it. I learned to read and write on the computer back in the days before everyone knew what LOL* meant. It figures that some kids today are learning largely by texting.

    *My father told me it stood for Lots Of Luck.

  10. David Eddleman


    Better reading -- maybe.

    Better grasp of key English concepts and spelling -- hell no.

    (I say 'English' because presumably it's what we're all familiar with. But it's happening in other languages. I've seen plenty of Arab youngsters greet each other with 'slm' -- shorthand of 'salam'.)

  11. Chris C

    @ Lupus

    "Surely I must be the only one who abbreviates NOTHING."

    No, you're not the only one. Many of us abbreviate "NOTHING" on a regular basis. We abbreviate it as "nil", "nul", or "null", depending on the scenario :)

  12. Charles Manning

    Study shmuddy

    Who funds these studies? Looks like a great gravy train for people who can ask a few questions, count the ticks to make a spreadsheet and print put pie charts.

    I'm looking to find funding for my study that shows that we can reduce crime by 70% by banning tattoos. We see very high percentage of tattoo wearers in the prison population. Therefore tattoos are a significant cause of crime. We should ban tattoos and thereby reduce crime.

    Showing correlation does not show causation.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fit for Purpose.

    Text messages have abbreviations that make the language fit the medium. If you cannot quickly convey what you mean without excessive key pressed, of course a culture will emerge that will abbreviate. Add to this a form of charging where people are charged more for longer texts and of course your going to get abbreviations.

    Where the media does not include a limit, we should not descend into using these abbreviated terms.

    In my own case, I have dyslexia, a problem with reading and writing. To be honest, this post would be a badly spelled mess unless I wrote it using Word.

    However, that does not stop me from enjoying the English language. Indeed, I like to be challenged by it. Ian M Banks’s Feersum Endjinn offers a phonetic read. I loved it.

    E.R. Eddison’s The Worm Ourobouros is, for me a hard read. But it is so rewarding. I could not read this book in one go. I had to return to it again and again. Sometimes looking up terms used. But returning to a chapter or paragraph that defeated me only served to make it more interesting.

    My personal favourite for language is China Mieville. He has some excellent language skills. It’s rare that I want to speak aloud the text that I read. But with China, I often want to hear the words, find the derivation of the meaning of words I don’t understand and luxuriate in the application.

    English can be frustrating, but it can be wonderfully expressive and enriching.

    While I understand that language progresses, I don’t think that it should be dumbed down. Would anyone argue that music should be restricted to three chords?

    Sorry for rambling!

  14. Martin H Watson

    Giving lessons in txt spk...

    ...would soon help kill it off. If kids were taught to text, they wouldn't want to bother.

    I do all my computer 'writing' using voice recognition software which is brilliant, and I've always thought using a voice medium such as a phone for typing is ludicrous.

  15. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    I've always quite liked the observation...

    that there's Centre for the Study of Reading in the Department of English at Reading.

  16. James


    It's already happened - several years ago I was giving a training course at a company and the director mentioned that he'd had a couple of job applications in txt ! Straight in the bin!

    (Gv i jb!)

    @Lewis - yes agree. 88 out of 20 million or so is hardly statistically significant. Bet they were all at a good school - the non-texters would have been from a "lower" standard school.

  17. tony
    IT Angle

    Future language and IT crap

    Reading and writing correctly is reserved for exams only, mostly if you make a mistake, everyone will read it as you intended.

    We've all seen the email with words that have the letters jumbled and can read it ok.

    As for you IT people, look at all those programming languages with abbreviations some which make no sense atall !

    Yes i went to a grammar school, but (deliberately put after a comma) we hardely use correct grammar.

    The world is changing and our language with it, you know we'll all be using txt talk as normal in a hundred years, maybe even programming words chucked in too.

    Choose the ones you like and get them mainstream before it's too late

  18. stizzleswick


    @ least thoz kidz can reed @ all, witch iz mor thn can b xpactd frm mny...

    Mine's the one with the Times sticking out of its pocket...

  19. Andy Hards
    Thumb Up

    When I first started emailing

    I was not used to typing and so didn't capitalize as I found it a lot quicker and easier. Now though I do most of my emailing on my mobile and this post is also done using my phone. Yeah, it can be a bit laborious but I use predictive text and this works fine for me.

  20. BioTube


    Are you, by chance, referring to "<<" to mean printf()?

    I'll get my coat.

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