The Harbinger Online

Blog: Teaching Text Speak

There are certain days people don’t forget. I had one of these days a while ago, in which I received a disturbing text message from my mother. This text brought news I had long dreaded hearing. I looked at my dimly lit screen and staring back at me were three menacing letters: “LOL.” My fears had come true: my mom was using text speak.

It didn’t end there, either. It wasn’t long before she was using ‘ttyl’s and ‘brb’s. Some people may not realize why I’m making such a big deal about something teenagers have been using since the ancient days of AOL Instant Messaging. The reason is that text speak is our thing. We use it because we need to get information out as quickly as possible while we are busy illegally texting and driving, discreetly texting during class, or if our Call of Duty game is seconds away from starting and we want to respond to our girlfriend’s last message before we become preoccupied for the next ten minutes. As high school students, we just don’t have the time to spell out full words.

The other reason that my mom using text speak is not okay is because of how incredibly technologically incapable she is. My dad claims that before we were born, she was better than him at computers, but when she became pregnant with us and left work, Microsoft came out with its Windows software, and my mom was rendered useless with computers. This is still hard for me to believe, because I knew how to use a computer before I knew how to write in cursive.

My mom’s lack of electronical ability doesn’t just involve computers, however. Despite me trying to teach her, I doubt she could watch a dvd if she was home alone, and she still claims that the TV is broken if she turns the television on but forgets to turn on the cable box. And don’t even think about Netflix- for her to turn on an episode of “Arrested Development” would be as great a task as me working on the latest NASA mission.

The issue for me isn’t that my parents are using texting, because sending a text is way faster and more convenient than having to call my mom whenever she wants to know “Where are you and what are you doing?!”. It makes sense that they are using new technology. My dad is much more tech-savvy than my mom and he has an iPhone like us, which he uses a lot for work-related things. The problem I have with their texting is that it’s much harder to take any disciplinary action from them seriously. That’s as if your boss were to send you a message that said “Good work 2day, ttyl!!! :).” You can’t pretend that that emoticon didn’t just happen.

When my parents first got phones with texting, I had to teach them how to read any new messages. Now, they are using abbreviations and emoticons (my dad too) like 11-year-old girls. I guess I will just have to forget about the anti-texting campaign and turn my focus on my latest crusade: Keeping them off Facebook.

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