WTF?... FML!... LMAO!... Know what these stand for? Your students do and unfortunately I am finding it more and more common to see these abbreviations being used on facebook, twitter, and in texts by those same students.
For some reason with the raise in popularity of social networks like facebook and twitter, so has the use of language that I know a lot of students would never use face to face. I am surprised almost on a daily basis, logging onto facebook and reading through status updates and seeing a student write something like "I can't believe that test was so hard! FML!". And what's even more eye opening for me is that it's not always the students I expect to hear that language from, but more often than not, it is from the student that I would never expect it from!
So this leaves us with the question: why? Is there this false sense of anonymity they feel when it comes to writing their feelings in a status update or through a tweet? Umm.. your name is right next to your status update! Or maybe when they are posting it they are by themselves, unlike speaking face to face, thus making them feel like no one will correct them? Or maybe because status updates are a glimpse into a person's thoughts throughout a day, it shows that these students are commonly thinking these words but have never verbalized them until now? Or maybe these abbreviations have almost become a separate language in and of itself and these students don't remember that the letters in the abbreviations stand for actual words?
Whatever the cause, I think it is something that needs to addressed. So whether you're a parent, youth pastor, small group leader, youth volunteer, or teacher, take the opportunity you have as an influence in a student's life by confronting them with their language online. Remind them their witness stretches online as well as in person.
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."