The following definition was copied (with some edits by me) from http://www.wikihow.com.
LEET (1337) is a written language used in online gaming, e-mails, text messaging, and other electronic communication. The root of the term “leet” is the word “elite”–translated as 31337. 1337 was initially developed as an exclusionary language: a way to encode text so that messages could only be read by the initiated. The defining characteristic of 1337 is substitution of symbols and numbers for letters (for example, in the term “1337,” 1=L, 3=E and 7=T), but the language has also developed to include intentional misspellings, phonetic spelling, and new words.
I’ve taken some time to try to become familiar with this cryptic language, but, truthfully I find that it’s more trouble than it’s worth. However, if my children were frequently using it, I would make it my business to become fluent!
From what I can tell, LEET has been around for a really long time and has been widely used in certain chat rooms and alot on various gaming sites.
Rather than try to give you a primer on the language (there are many sites that you can find with a simple Google search) I thought I’d just provide a little social commentary on this phenomenon.
Its of course, remarkable that some of our children would go to great lengths to communicate with one another cloaked in a different language but not at all surprising. Does anyone remember Pig Latin? Ubby Dubby Language? You had to be a fan of the original ZOOM back in the 70’s for that one. So my point here is that we needn’t be shocked. We have all adopted some form of LEET into our texting and emailing. The symbol online for a heart is <3, which kind of looks like a heart turned on it’s side. LOL, ROFL, BRG, G2G are all little pieces taken from the LEET handbook.
I am hopeful that your kids are not discussing anything too crazy, but you probably already know the answer to that question. If you suspect that some topics (underage drinking, drugs, sex) are being discussed that you haven’t yet covered at home, now may be a good time to start speaking their language. Barring any international espionage or other illegal activities, I say let the kids have their fun. We did! Feedback? Comments? Just click on the link below.
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