University Of Tasmania

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Children's text messaging: abbreviations, input methods and links with literacy

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 06:08 authored by Nenagh KempNenagh Kemp, Bushnell, C
This study investigated the effects of mobile phone text-messaging method (predictive and multi-press) and experience (in texters and non-texters) on children’s textism use and understanding. It also examined popular claims that the use of text-message abbreviations, or textese spelling, is associated with poor literacy skills. A sample of 86 children aged 10 to 12 years read and wrote text messages in conventional English and in textese, and completed tests of spelling, reading, and non-word reading. Children took significantly longer, and made more errors, when reading messages written in textese than in conventional English. Further, they were no faster at writing messages in textese than in conventional English, regardless of texting method or experience. Predictive texters were faster at reading and writing messages than multi-press texters, and texting experience increased writing, but not reading, speed. General spelling and reading scores did not differ significantly with usual texting method. However, better literacy skills were associated with greater textese reading speed and accuracy. These findings add to the growing evidence for a positive relationship between texting proficiency and traditional literacy skills.


Publication title

Journal of Computer-Assisted Learning








School of Psychological Sciences


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

9600 Garsington Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 2Dg

Rights statement

The definitive published version is available online at:

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Learner and learning not elsewhere classified

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