I’m not the biggest fan of texting, but I can hold my own. My younger brother on the other hand, is a texting fiend, his used Crackberry buzzing during dinner, movies, and I’m sure class and exams. I used to hassle him about it. Looks like I’m going to have to stop that.
A recent study found that texting lingo may in fact improve children’s language skills and reading development. I’m sure that’s welcome news to many a worried parent who’s been losing sleep fretting over all the talking their teens are doing with their thumbs (let alone the gigantic texting bill). American teens between the ages of 13 and 17 who have their own cell phones send over 2,000 texts a month, according to the Washington Post.
The study, published in the March 2009 edition of the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, evaluated 88 British tweens, aged 10 to 12 years old. They were asked to write text messages they might send given certain circumstances. The higher the ratio of “textisms”–abbreviations, contractions, and symbols–to total words used, the better a child’s reading ability and vocabulary were predicted to be.
I for one wouldn’t have expected better vocab to rise out of the ashes of IDKs and LOLs. Using texting lingo seems like intentionally making spelling and grammar mistakes. But instead of leading to sloppy homework and poor grades, texting is actually making kids practice writing. The study’s lead author told the BBC that texting is additional exposure to the written word, and the more teens practice writing, no matter what the forum–texts, IMs, Facebook chats–the better they get.
So text away little brother! Now, about all that Speedy Bubbles you’ve been playing…