A new list of 'sexting' acronyms is doing the rounds on Twitter 1 month ago

A new list of 'sexting' acronyms is doing the rounds on Twitter

A cyber safety booklet with a list of sexting acronyms was published back in October 2017.

A list of 'sexting' acronyms has been doing the rounds on Irish Twitter on Thursday afternoon after the cyber safety booklet from which they were taken has gone viral.

The booklet itself was created by the team at the Office of Internet Safety (internetsafety.ie) and features Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell's face on the cover.

Farrell was elected as Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs back in July, and took it upon himself to distribute the cyber safety booklet to educators and parents around the country.

The booklet received prominence today when a Dublin parent emailed the team at RTÉ broadcaster Joe Duffy's talk show Live Line, posing the question: "Should Fine Gael TDs be circulating explicit sexting literature in schools?"

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When asked about the booklet, the broadcaster's first guest on the topic stated:

"I think a TD's job in relation to this is to ensure that there's adequate funding, that there's policies in place, that there's legislation in place and support comprehensive sex education and all of these things in schools.

"I don't think it should be a job of a TD to step into the void, if you will, perhaps as an untrained, I don't believe Deputy Farrell's background is in youth education and stuff like that, I think it's more important that TDs are ensuring that there's funding in place so that sex education and literacy around cyber bullying is taught comprehensively in schools."

The Fine Gael TD spoke to JOE about how the booklet came to be;

"The booklet was put together by the team at the Office of Internet Safety back around October 2017 and was shown to me at the first part of committee hearings on cyber safety. We had Facebook in [to talk about this] before Christmas which was a really interesting discussion.

"Only about 40,000 of these books were produced with the intention of enlightening parents on dangers and positives of the internet.

"As Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs I decided it would be a good idea to publish a few hundred of these to provide to principals, teachers and parents. I wrote to a number of principals enclosing a copy in each, letting them know if they wanted more to let me know. 

"I had just under 6000 requests following that."

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Farrell has commended the booklet for its main purpose: Education.

"If you take my face off the cover, it is a very useful booklet."

And while some parents agree with the TD handing out definitions of the latest sexting acronyms to minors, the Fine Gael TD believes that students are already two steps ahead in terms of internet slang.

"It wasn’t for handing out in the classroom - I gave it to the principals who either left it in the office and notified parents for collection, sent them home with children or sent it home in a sealed envelope for parents to open. 

"My attitude towards it is that teenagers already know all about these things. I'm 40, and while I don't claim to be an internet whizz, I’m alright, and some of these things shocked me.

"This is not a manual, it's an advisory booklet and if a child picks it up it's likely they know it already. And [the sexting acronym's page] is just one of 20 pages, with others highlighting anti-bullying techniques, a parent's guide to tinder and a snapchat guide."

Since the show, Farrell has had dozens of requests for the booklet from as far afield as Australia and the US.

He went on to say that, especially as a father himself, he would like to know of both the dangers and positives of the internet for his children.

The cyber safety booklet is available for download here.

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