Toronto has become the first Canadian city to offer a texting service for teens and young adults in need of sexual health advice. The move is both a groundbreaking attempt to engage Toronto’s youth and an excellent way to perpetuate netspeak. A teen asking the question “how do u no if ur depressed” would get a response in kind from the texting service (because all teens are, apparently, quasi-literate): “If ur feeling down, like the world sucks, like u wanna xcape life, call Toronto distress centres.”
The service, which the city is advertising on Facebook, is designed to provide a reliable source of information to youth who might be apprehensive of calling the family doctor or, concerned about parents checking their browsing history, can’t rely on Google. The idea is for texting to supplement Toronto Public Health’s current educational arsenal, which includes phone lines, Web sites and on-line chat rooms.
For non-teens who require Toronto Public Health’s texting services—or those who still possess some grammatical competence—the Internet comes through again with this text lingo translator, which can convert Toronto Public Health’s text slang into bona fide English.