Niall Mulrine

Technology: R U surrounded by 2many txt msgs?


PEOPLE are now accustomed to the short hand text messages they open on their phones, emails and websites. But how did all this begin?

Professional people used short hand writing for years and some of us may only remember watching the movies where secretaries took dictation notes in shorthand so they could later type it up with their typewriter. Even recently, I was interviewed by a journalist and I had to stop and ask what the squiggly writing was? He assured me it was short hand for his modern ‘typewriter’.

When mobile phones came on the market with the ability to send SMS text messages to and from each device, new arenas were introduced to us how we can communicate. SMS was the form of GSM standards back in 1985 and one of the limits of the messages was lack of ability to post more than 160 characters.


Where did all this text start?
But teenagers resurrected its format back in the early 21st century with the birth of Bebo, the first major social network of all times. Teenagers were using short words and symbols in replace of normal English structure. Reasons for this behaviour innocently began as hiding some true facts from others in view of the text, especially parents! LOL and OMG are phrases most of us, even the most tech illiterate would of came across it. From listening to what teenagers are giving back to me when I am giving Internet Safety workshops is that most children would like to go back to normal English text, especially boys. Why?

Future of Bebo Speak
The use of text is getting frustrating for many teenagers as it’s got more complicated even for the more adapt techy mobile phone user. If you see a young person now in public, chances are, there will be a mobile phone attached to their hands and a lost stare into a small screen of writing. Some children are reading these messages trying to make sense of all the short hand and the message eventually gets received different from what the sender purposely meant.

Speaking with a father recently, he says he cannot watch TV in peace in the evenings as his 15 year daughter is tapping away at the keys on her Blackberry. He said she must send at least 50 messages. He was not surprised by my feedback I shared from talking with children between ages of 10 and 18 last year who admitted they can send anything from 50 to 350 text messages a day. Main reason for this is the introduction of so many cheap and free text messaging services such as Blackberry Messenger (BBM), Viper, Skype, SnapChat, Kik, Google Voice and many more are available via handset application store.
Is text replacing old style communication styles for the better or worse? What do you think?

For more information & tips on Cyber Bullying & Internet Safety log on to or contact Niall Mulrine 086-2377033 if you wish to hear how you can haven Internet Safety workshop in your area.

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