The increasing use of social sites and chatrooms by youngsters has been a bane to the purity of language, a new study has found.

Social networking sites are killing the spelling ability of children to a great extent, a research by the English Spelling Society has found, AP reports.

According to the research, the increasing use of variant spellings on the internet has been brought about by people typing at speed in chat rooms and on social networking sites where the general attitude is that there is no need to correct typos or conform to spelling rules.

We are now witnessing the effect these linguistic variations are having on children born into the computer age with such a high level of access in and out of schools. They do not question their existence,” said Lucy Jones, the report author, a former student at Manchester University.

The paper surveyed a group of 18-24-year-olds as part of the research.

According to the survey, the majority believe that unconventional spellings are used on the Internet because it is faster and has become the norm.

As many as 22 per cent said they would not be confident in writing an important email without referring to a dictionary or spell checker.

Despite the widespread use of so-called variant spelling, 31 per cent of those questioned said that alternative non-standard spellings are completely unacceptable.” Again, 66 per cent believe that dictionaries should contain variant spellings.