The Other I

November 19, 2012

This isn’t for old people like you, grandma…

Filed under: Just Stuff,The Younger Generation — theotheri @ 2:18 pm

The weekend newspapers have several stark reminders about just how much has changed since I was young.  One paper had an entire page discussing whether parents should take their children with them on their honeymoon, and then featured places where parents might go should they decide to be accompanied by their offspring.

Today I read that children as young as three are being taught computer code like HTML and JavaScript.  The Education Department thinks every child between the ages of 5 and 7 should (I’m not kidding)  “be able to use algorithms to write simple programs, store and retrieve data and know ways in which information is represented digitally.”  Algorithms?!  At age five?

On the other hand, there was also an article on schools’ needing to teach children approaching adolescence how to write.  By write, I don’t mean how to structure an essay or tell a story.  I mean how to actually form the letters of the alphabet with a pen or pencil.  They are children who have learned to communicate exclusively through texting.  Some of them seem able to negotiate a smart phone pad with two thumbs as fast as I can type on the original keyboard.  They can send messages around the world, but can’t write an old-fashioned note using paper and pencil.

But it was the discussion of teenage-speak used on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter than made me realize that times have really changed.  I understand OMG and btw and LOL, but I would need a whole translation service to read texting.  For anyone over forty, the London Times lists the following examples to test whether you are as bi-lingual as you thought:

  • POS  parent over shoulder
  • IDK  I don’t know
  • JK  just kidding
  • G2G  got to go;
  • LN  last night
  • S^  what’s up?  (this is my favourite)
  • NMJCU  not much, just chilling, you?
  • YOLO  you only live once
  • I43  I love you   (personally, I don’t understand the logic of this code even when it’s translated)
  • IKR  I know, right?
  • 5  wait a few minutes
  • 55  coast is clear  (I don’t think I could have figured this out myself in a lifetime)
  • A?S?L?  age, sex, location?
  • DW  don’t worry
  • K  OK
  • B4N  bye for now
  • BBL  be back later
  • BG  big grin
  • BST  but seriously though
  • B&  banned
  • CTS  changing the subject
  • CWYL:  chat with you later
  • EAK  eating at keyboard
  • F2P  free to play
  • LTNS  long time no see
  • OTP  on the phone
  • QT  cutie
  • TT2T  too tired to talk

I do wonder, though, just how many of the above the average teenage could translate.  Does any reader out there have any resident teenage subjects to ask?

PS:  FYI, I failed.  I got 4 items right – QT, K, 5, and IDK.    By the grading system I grew up with, that would give me a grade of 14%.  60% would have earned me a D if the teacher was being charitable.  14% would have resulted in an automatic demotion.

I’m reminded of the grandmother who told me her three-year-old granddaughter took the TV remote from her saying “I’ll do it for you, Grandma.  This isn’t for old people like you.”

Talk about role-reversals.



  1. 1 4 3 (I = one letter) love = 4 letters you = three letters – idk – jag (just a guess)
    ps – i only got three right. BUT i can spell – moistly….happy thanksgiving day from this side of the pond k


    Comment by kateritek — November 19, 2012 @ 8:22 pm | Reply

    • Terrific: maybe you should consider work as a decoder? After Sandy’s cleaned up, of course.

      Well, I can’t spell reel good, but I can righte out all my letters on peace of paper.

      Thank you for the Thanksgiving day wishes. Despite appearances, there’s still a lot to be grateful for, isn’t there?



      Comment by Terry Sissons — November 19, 2012 @ 8:47 pm | Reply

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