Did you know that the concept of “good” spelling is actually a fairly recent idea? Since so few people could read or write in the past, and because there were so few books published, the rules of spelling were very lax until just the last 250 years. The first really dependable English Dictionary was written by Samuel Johnson in 1755. It was called A Dictionary of the English Language. Even afterwards, there has always been debates on what is the “correct” spelling of many words. For instance, British people use “colour”, while Americans use “color”. The point is that there was a serious reason we as a people decided on making rules for spelling and writing.
Back to your question, I believe the answer is yes – texting is affecting this generation’s ability to learn how to spell and write well. When chatting with friends it takes so much more work and time to text out long words or phrases that we’ve come to use quick abbreviations instead (for instance “ttfn” for “ta ta for now”). After using the shortened version so many times, many of us will forget the actual original phrase.
This has happened in the past of course. For instance “scuba” is actually a shortened form of the phrase “Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus”. How many people know that? Is it important for people to know that? Well, yes. The meaning is much clearer with the entire phrase, isn’t it?
The main reasons for having spelling and writing rules is to cut down on miscommunication! We want to be able to communicate with everyone, not just the ones we are close to. Texting is certainly fine for chatting to each other, but it doesn’t take the place of really being able to communicate new or complex ideas. This generation and the ones that follow need to keep this in mind when sitting in English class and learning how to spell.