Nope! Research suggests that whether kids use text messaging or other types of shortened text for writing online doesn't make a blind bit of difference to their spelling.
Good spellers, weak spellers
Some small-scale research at the University of Alberta in Canada found that those who could spell well in academic contexts also spelled well on-line or on their mobiles and those that couldn't didn't.
The difference between girls and boys
They also found that girls used more short forms, like GR8, LOL, etc, whereas boys used more punctuation!!!!!!!! (like that). The article's at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090922095814.htm
The most literate generation ever?
Interesting stuff but the study was tiny (only 40 kids). At the other end of the scale, but with similar results, some research from Stanford University was enormous, involving 14,672 bits of student writing (both academic and social). The researchers showed that young people are doing more writing than any previous generation have ever done. And significantly they are writing for a specific purpose - not just to hand in an essay because they have to. "Ah yes but...,"say the grumpy old women/men*, "...they may be writing a lot but they use so much of that dreadful texting language that they forget how to write properly." Not so, according to these researchers: in all the academic papers that they looked at they didn't find any examples at all of texting language. The research is here.
What do you think?
If you are a teacher or a parent, do you think SMS language affects your children's spelling? And do you think some shortened forms like u (for you) will eventually become accepted forms of English spelling?
*I don't know if grumpy old men and grumpy old women are an entirely British phenomenon or not. They are not necessarily particularly old (middle-aged) but they are certainly grumpy ... about everything - especially anything new or anyone young.