Educating young on Internet risks - in their language

September 1st, 2008 - 12:00 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 1 (IANS) txtN skul kds n net lngwij bout internet rskz… Go to if you can’t understand this.When you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. That’s what a London awareness group has gone ahead and done, using mobile phone texting to communicate with school children about Internet risks.

Thousands of posters are on display in corridors and classrooms in nearly 2,000 secondary schools in London telling students how to use the Internet in a safe manner.

Entitled “Top Tips for Pupils: Safe surfing at home and at school”, the posters are written in a mind-boggling array of numbers and unlikely combinations of letters, in an attempt to connect with children who are more comfortable writing and reading in the abbreviated language used in mobile phone text messages than formal English.

One of the nine tips on the poster, which uses the letters XXX to denote an adult, says: “nvr agree 2 mEt an on9 pal IRL w/o chekin W a responsible XXX.”

That means: “Never agree to meet an online friend in real life without checking with a responsible adult.”

Another reads: “u av d ryt 2 feel safe ll d tym, includN wen UzN ICT or yr mob ph.”

That translates as: “You have the right to feel safe all the time, including when using information communications technology or your mobile phone.”

The campaign, aimed at making children more aware of the risks while on the Internet and in using their mobile phones, has dismayed educational traditionalists, according to Daily Mail.

But bosses at London Grid for Learning (LGfL), the local authority-funded organisation behind the posters, believe text language is the best way to get through to children today.

Brian Durrant, the organisation’s chief executive, said: “We think it would raise their interest by using ‘textese’. It does take some translating, but we want to connect with the pupils.”

But the campaign has been criticised by those campaigning for higher standards in education.

Nick Seaton, from the Campaign for Real Education, said: “This is a complete waste of money. Posters that go up in schools should be written in standard English and encourage children to read and write standard English. To use text language is to pass on entirely the wrong message and encourage lower standards. The people behind this really should have known better.”

An English teacher in a West London school added: “These posters go up on the corridors of the English department, as well as everywhere else, and it undermines everything that we do.”

The posters, which cost nearly 3,000 pounds of taxpayers’ money to produce, were published by LGfL along with 5,000 further posters written in standard English and 5,000 posters with tips for teachers.

dde, sriously, ppl shud knw hw 2 use sms by nw, i mean, hu3va dsnt is rly….weird?

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