Texting acronyms – out of date info?

More of a Monday morning observation than anything….

The week before last Parentinfo was all over the news promoting the new website which is aimed at schools and gives a host of up to date information on a range of topical issues.
On Radio 4 they were talking about the section of the site that deals with ‘text speak’ and how young people use their own language to confuse / outsmart parents / carers and teachers. The example they used was ‘P999’ which means parent alert and ‘420’ meaning marijuana.

I have to say I have never come across with of these codes when speaking to young people, so I took advantage of a training session in Bristol last week. I delivered 12 sessions with students and had contact with around 3500 young people. At the start of the sessions I asked for a show of hands if anyone had ever heard of either of the acronyms, not a single person raised their hand.

Not the most scientific of experiments I agree, but it makes me wonder if we should be just signposting parents to places like Urban Dictionary instead of dredging up years old scary acronyms about sex, drugs and rock n roll for parents and staff to panic over? It feels like a bit of a step back, like we are diverting from the real issue of empowerment and education and reverting back to scaremongering, which is never a good thing.

That grumble aside, I do like the Parentinfo site and find it has some really useful resources. I just feel this one section is outdated.