Adapting to a world of ever-shorter screens and ever-longer laundry lists of activities, today's tech-savvy teens are creating a whole new language of abbreviations as they use cell phones and computers to correspond via short electronic communications called "text messages." But the rise of this new form of alphabet-soup shorthand has educators debating its effect on students' writing habits.

The text messages on 13-year-old Margarete Stettner's cell phone are filled with shortcuts—like "G2G" for "got to go" and "LOL" instead of "laugh out loud." Even when she isn't using her phone, the lingo sometimes makes...

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