I've been seeing more and more coverage of the new "text ed" program for Canadian students. Spawned out of the media scare about "sexting" (because the media loves a good teen sex story), it's a curriculum and accompanying website designed to teach kids how to be responsible about electronic communication.

There's nothing inherently wrong with that idea but, as you might guess, there are about a million things wrong with their execution. I won't go into the fact that the whole thing seems to follow a similar model to abstinence education, which has been repeatedly shown to be ineffective, or the fact that by teaching this course in grade seven they will probably only succeed in giving the kids new ideas. Instead I'm going to make fun of something fairly superficial that nonetheless demonstrates just how hamfisted the whole plan is.

The website, texted.ca, includes a glossary of acronyms and text-speak. I'm not sure exactly why they put it on a site aimed at kids, since it is clearly written for adults who are snooping in their children's cellphones. It seems like they tried to strike a balance between basic and advanced, and ended up landing on totally insane. There are all the standard LOLs and AFKs, and then there are choice terms like these:
  • AWC: After awhile crocodile – has anyone ever said this, much less abbreviated it?
  • BIO: Biology Break or Bathroom Break – what? what?
  • BIOYN: Blow it out your nose – there is no way kids are saying this
  • CRBT: Crying really big tears – okay, maybe this is a thing, but I hope not
  • ETA: Estimated time (of) arrival – wow! kids are abbreviating all sorts of wild stuff these days, huh?
  • GIRL: Guy in real life – this just seems confusing
  • GMBO: Giggling my butt off – if anyone ever actually says this to me, I will definitely start GMBO
  • MKAY: Meaning "Mmm, okay" and MMK: Meaning okay? (as a question) – I had no idea text-speak had such complex usage rules
  • MTFBWU: May the force be with you – the kids texting this to each other are not the ones having sex
  • PBOOK: Phonebook (e-mail)  – I get the first step of this definition, but I am baffled by the second
  • QLS: Reply and QSO: Conversation – these are ham radio codes. I have no idea why they are here
  • RIP: Rest in peace – this is just getting stupid
  • RMLB: Ready my lips baby – I'm sure this is supposed to say read, but it's much funnier this way
And these last two I'm just going to let stand by themselves, because I really have no idea what to say about them:
  • SWAG: Scientific wild *butt* guess
  • YWHNB: Yes, We Have No Bananas
So watch out, teen sex! A new curriculum is coming to get you!

Incidentally, texted.ca includes this page, which has a detailed explanation of Canadian sexual consent laws for various age groups at the bottom (it's actually the first link on their menu). So it seems teenagers might get some use out of this website after all.

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