Text-lingoIf you've seen one of your kids' text messages recently, you may have been concerned about what all that text-speak is doing to this generation's spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and general command of the English language. Do you need to?

It's true that text-speak is disconcerting to grammar purists, who shudder at the question “where u at?” or shortening entire phrases like “in my opinion” to “IMO.” Some English teachers also say they see too much informal language and too little structure in their student's writing, which could be attributed to texting and sexting.

However, studies like the one at the University of Toronto suggest that today's generation doesn't really have a problem switching between writing in “textese” to their friends and in more academic language in English class.

In fact, the ability to be creative and play with language (Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss come to mind) may actually be a sign of a highly developed sense of literacy. To develop acronyms and abbreviations that are readily recognizable to others requires a firm grasp on the English language.

Text is the new shorthand, which may be used by our kids in informal speech. But it isn't necessarily creeping into their high school essays just because they text a lot.

                      Internet Safety Resource Center                
Tim Woda
Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start uKnow.com. You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.