If you’re like most people, you’ve probably sent text messages like the ones on this page—with abbreviated words, no capital letters, and incorrect punctuation. After all, they’re just texts to a friend. She’ll understand what you mean. But would you write like that in an essay for school?
Some experts worry that too much texting and posting messages on social media can hurt kids’ ability to write properly. On average, kids in grades five through eight send 14 text messages each day, according to the research company YouthBeat. That adds up to a lot of textisms—the type of relaxed grammar and shortened spelling often used in texts. Experts are concerned that kids’ spelling and writing skills could weaken over time.
But a study released in 2014 suggests that there’s nothing to worry about. Researchers in Australia and England found that using textisms didn’t hurt kids where it counts most—on spelling and writing tests in school.