Microsoft's guides to leetspeak and cyberbullies

Ju$t 1gnor3 th3m 4nd th3y'll g0 4w4y.

Microsoft is taking steps to try and educate parents about their children's increased involvement in the internet with a series of guides including A parent's primer to computer slang and 10 tips for dealing with game cyberbullies and grifers, which we found linked on Slashdot the other day.

Although both guides have been around for a while, they are nevertheless interesting if you haven't seen them before - whether you find them amusing or perhaps even useful - in the way in which they attempt to demystify things like "leetspeak", often in the context of online gaming or related activities. Leetspeak is described as "the digital equivalent of pig Latin with a twist of hieroglyphics", and Microsoft's guide notes that the online language rarely respects the rules of grammar and leaves mistakes uncorrected.

The guide also focuses on how numbers and characters of similar appearance can be used to replace the letters they resemble. At one point it even notes, "'$' can replace the letter S" - the most famous example of which is probably "Micro$oft", regularly used as a derogatory term for the computer giant itself.

The guide goes on to list "a few standard terms" including "Leet words possibly indicating illegal activity" like "pron" and "pwn". That term - described as "a typo-deliberate version of own, a slang term that means to dominate" also links through to another Microsoft guide, featuring 10 tips for dealing with "griefers".

Suggestions include "Ignore them", "Do something else" and "Avoid using provocative names", as the author argues, "The best way to deal with griefers is to educate yourself and prepare your kids on how to deal with them on their own terms."

We were tempted to try and come up with a decent punchline for it all, but Slashdot pretty much hit the nail on the head already. "Honey, we're getting worried that you may be 0wning newbz. We need to talk..."

You can read more of Microsoft's child safety guides here.

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Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell

Contributor  |  tombramwell

Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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