Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Keyboard Warrior and a Clueless Mum

The other night I was sharing a bottle of champagne with my 19 year old daughter, Lauren. Towards the end of the bottle, the conversation turned as serious as a champagne-induced conversation can, and we were discussing a few problems she was having with her boyfriend. He lives down the coast and last weekend he blew it - he was supposed to turn up to a party but said he fell asleep and did not make it.

Lauren had given him the cold shoulder all week (not replying to his text messages), and had finally agreed to meet with him on Sunday to talk about it, which she was anxious about. 'Why', I asked? 'You need to clear the air, sort it out, work out if you want to keep it going?' She said, 'Mum you don't understand. Generation Y are keyboard warriors. We do conflict by text and in-boxing, not in person.' (I could hear the implied duh!)

Image Source
Now, being the super-cool new age mum that I am, I did not fess up (see, super cool) to never having heard the expression 'keyboard warrior' - is it just me? - but I did write it down so I would remember to google it later. I was curious whether it was a term she had just made up or whether it was common language in her circles. I found an awesome online dictionary that all parents of generation Y and Z's should bookmark - The Urban Dictionary. I SO could have been using this for years! (For a long time I thought lol meant lots of love and added it to some rather inappropriate texts and posts.)

A keyboard warrior is basically a person who expresses their anger via aggressive writing in the form of texts, emails, tweets etc. OMG, I too have been possessed by Keyboard Warrior syndrome! The picture above epitomises the written attacks by my ex-husband. I was on the receiving end, and threw the grenades back of course, of some very abusive keyboard warrior attacks. In Lauren's case, it was not abuse but rather conflict that she was describing. Conflict that 'in the good old days' we used to stand in front of each other and yell or get upset about, not just pass hurtful written words back and forth...although I do remember a nasty handwritten letter or two at high school.

It's not the first time that I have noticed the change in how generation Y and Z communicate. Lauren's first boyfriend she never met in person. They met online via My-Space (now defunct I believe) and broke up before they ever went on a date. Her long-term boyfriend she met via school friends on Facebook, and he broke up with her by text. Is it wrong to communicate in such a fashion? I guess it is rather economical in terms of time. I remember walking twenty minutes to the phone box to spend my pocket money just so I could have a conversation with my boyfriend in private. I have diaries and hand-written letters from teenage boyfriends...are these any different to a romantic email or text? Probably not. At least an email does not get flooded, and if saved correctly can be kept forever.

So, if a keyboard warrior is an angry message-sender then I figure there are heaps of other 'keyboard' stereotypes (my mind always jumps ahead to random thoughts). The keyboard cold-shoulder-er (yep, I have ignored a text or two when pissed off), the keyboard lover (god, I miss him), the keyboard comic (always posting funny jokes), and the keyboard pessimist - I can think of many Facebook status-posters that would fit this one. Maybe I should make up my own urban dictionary...Me, I would describe as a keyboard fence-sitter (not taking sides) or keyboard diplomat (dispute resolution)...most of the time anyway, with perhaps a little keyboard warrior there just in case.

What type of keyboard-er are you? Have you heard of keyboard warriors before?

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