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How textspeak conceals identity of strangers online

Secondary pupils are easily duped into believing that adults they are speaking to online are teenagers, research shows.

Even pupils who have received lessons in internet safety are quick to assume that strangers using textspeak and slang are their own age.

The study of 785 secondary pupils also shows that teenagers make assumptions about the sex of online strangers, based on their language use and the subject matter discussed.

Teens quickly conclude that conversations about shopping or boyfriends are enough to identify an online acquaintance as female. Equally, references to football or use of swearwords are enough to prove that strangers are male.

These findings, the researchers From Lancaster University conclude, reveal the vulnerability of children of all ages to online deception.

Read the full article in the 28 November edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.

Related stories:

Text-speak translates to gr8 language learning – 31 May 2013

"We need a safety net for pupils who are raised online" – 28 March 2008

Online sex plague – 12 January 2007


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