Using text message speak won't affect children's abilities to spell, say researchers at a Canadian university.

Professor Connie Varnhagen from the University of Alberta said that children that were good at spelling "real" words then then their use of shortened words in text message wouldn't affect this. However, if children find spelling difficult, this will be reflected in the language they use in text messages.

The research also showed that boys that used text speak a lot were on average worse spellers, while girls that used a lot of abbreviations tended to be better spellers.

Varnhage said text speak has lead to the creation of new words, which in turn created a "little brain workout", as it requires more concentration and attention to identify the meaning than reading English.

"Using a new type of language does require concentration and translating it to standard English does require concentration and attention."

Mobile phone buying advice

See all mobile phone reviews

See also: Two thirds of students plagiarise copy from web