My assumption had been that when children use incorrectly spelled words, poor grammar, change the way words look in print, and substitute symbols and images (e.g. emoticons) to communicate, it will have a negative effect on their spelling, grammar, and reading and writing skills. Logical, don't you think?
They may not have souls, but they're not inanimate objects, either. Ideas are alive in them, and they can contain characters more real than some people I know. Writers spend years struggling to create them, to get them published, noticed, bought and read; how can they not embody some of an author's spirit?