Trying to Keep Tabs on Virtual and Slang Worlds of Today’s Teenagers
Two items from the halls and corridors of education caught my eye that tell us a lot about the way schools are going, and therefore the potential impact on the next generation.
Virtual Teenage Worlds
According to professor of childhood and youth studies at Sussex University, Rachel Thomson, teenagers are increasingly seeing real life of home and school as ‘pauses’ in their online and social media worlds where they are in almost constant connection with friends and fantasy.
She said that late at night and first thing in the morning, social media activity reaches a peak although are busy round the clock as well. But at night teenagers are not switching off their devices or their minds.
Therefore when they are faced with having to communicate with family members, they see it as a necessary pause in the important things. When they go to school, there is an enforced period when they must switch from their ‘reality’ to the stuff of teaching and learning.
That is why at breaks, between lessons and if they can get away with it, during lessons as well, they text, search and check and play games. In some cases it is seen as a battle of wits to beat the system, get one over the teachers and stay ‘real’, stay connected.
Schools could just install jamming devices that neutralise communications for a few hours, but families in their homes wouldn’t do that would they?
Keeping Teachers Up to Date With The Language
Teachers have to keep up to speed with developments, debates and ideas in education, but increasingly they also have to follow what language kids are using so they can get through.
A program from a software company called Impero is designed to let teachers get into the mysteries of teenage slang. Company boss Jonathan Valentine told the Times Education Supplement that his system finds and translate urban slang for staff.
It finds monitors students’ online communications, scanning their messages for words or acronyms that may be:
- offensive or inappropriate
- sexually explicit
We may well accept that and 1400 British secondary schools are now using it. Translating it to to English used by most people makes sense.
Examples include ‘dirl’ (die in real life) and ‘gnoc’ (get naked on camera). A far cry from ‘lol’ and ‘cba” (can’t be arsed).
An even further cry from jargon of earlier generations – ‘cool’, ‘groovy’, ‘hip’, ‘the most’, ‘rock on baby’ and ‘tune in, turn on and drop out.’
But doesn’t it all smack a bit too much of Big Brotherism and that nothing is private now? Or is this for the greater good? Have your say.
Other blogs around these topics and worth a read:
Dry Stats Open Up Fascinating View of How We Live Now, 4 November 2013
In the Future, The Average Is History, the Machine Is King, 30 September 2013
Young and Unemployed? You Shouldn’t Be in This Digital Era! 17 September 2013
There Is No Off-Switch in Today’s 24/7 Connected World, 6 August 2013