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Thumbs up for texting

Ipswich Grammar School students Luke Cronan, Robert Harman-Schufft and Spencer Zanner say texting doesn’t affect their schoolwork.
Ipswich Grammar School students Luke Cronan, Robert Harman-Schufft and Spencer Zanner say texting doesn’t affect their schoolwork. Rob Williams

GR8 nws 4 kids. Txtng hlps u read n spl.

Parents can stop worrying. New research is proving mobile phone texting is improving children's literacy.

A recent study of 10 to 12-year-old Australian children found that regular use of text lingo (textisms) had a positive effect on spelling ability.

The results contradict public opinion that regular use of textisms is having a negative effect on children's use of language.

Ipswich Grammar head of English John Acutt said the results came as no surprise.

"They do have to have some understanding of language to engage in the process in the first place," he said.

"The kids have to be smart enough to understand what the original word is in the first place before they can put it into code.

"I think it's a kind of modern shorthand and we don't teach that in schools anymore, so if it serves that kind of application then well and good."

With the use of text messaging as a communication tool for children increasing, evidence is mounting that the overall effects may be positive.

Ipswich Grammar boarder Robert Harman-Schufft, 11, said he understood when and where to use the technique.

"I don't text a lot, but when I do I shorten some of the words," he said.

"Sometimes when I'm summarising my schoolwork I use it as well but never when I'm doing assignments."

Common text shortcuts include "gr8" for great, "u" for you, "b4" instead of before, and "c u l8r" instead of see you later.

Deputy headmaster Mike Connors said the prevalence of new technology might have more positives than negatives.

"I sit back at times in amazement at some of the things they come up with that equals another word," he said.

"It's just another form of literacy that this generation has become very adept and skilled at."

Topics:  children education mobile phone research texting


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