Teenagers on social networking sittes are creating a secret language to stop adults knowing what they are up to, researchers say.
published on: Telegraph
The teens are using it to stop parents and employers judging them by their social activities such as partying and drinking.Instead of writing they are drunk, teens post 'Getting MWI' - or Mad With It.
Being in a relationship is known as 'taken' or 'Ownageeee', and 'Ridneck', a corruption of redneck, means to feel embarassed.
Meanwhile, girls posting 'Legal' are indicating that they are above 16 and legally allowed to have sex.
Lisa Whittaker, a postgraduate student at the University of Stirling, who studied teens aged 16-18 on Bebo in Scotland, said the slang had been created to keep their activities private, and cited the example of one young girl who was sacked after bosses found pictures of her drinking on the website.
"Young people often distort the languages they use by making the pages difficult for those unfamiliar with the distortions and colloquialisms," she said.
"The language used on Bebo seems to go beyond abbreviations that are commonly used in text messaging, such as removing all the vowels.
"This is not just bad spelling, which would suggest literacy issues, but a deliberate attempt to creatively misspell words.
"The creation and use of their own social language may be a deliberate attempt to keep adults from understanding what is written on the page.
"By doing this they are able to communicate with their in-group and conceal the content from the out-group. This further adds to their online identity."
She said that one reason for encoding their messages was to keep adults in the dark about their drinking or smoking. She is due to present her research at a seminar at the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data and Methods in Cardiff on Tuesday.