Madison and I attended a course on the weekend that was intended to help tweens feel more comfortable home alone.
Granted, I’m a stay-at-home Mom, so the need doesn’t arise very often, but on those rare occasions where I want to run in and out of the grocery store without the pre-battle to get the girls to come with me, I thought it would be of value.
The afternoon session of the course had kids in one room going over fire safety, hazard labels and basic first aid etc and it had the parents in the other room discussing routines, emergency contacts and cyber-safety.
Which terrified me.
The parents were given a list of 16 common texting acronyms and we were to write down what they meant….
none of us knew them all.
In fact, I think the most any single parent knew was 4 or 5 – which means our kids are conversing in a completely different language that we can’t/don’t understand.
The idea behind internet slang/texting acronyms is to abbreviate concepts for quick typing and delivery – which is harmless and quite clever. I’m sure you’re familiar with LOL (laugh out loud), BFF (best friends forever), OMG (oh my God), MYOB (mind your own business) and TTYL (talk to you later). Innocent, innocuous and cute.
BUT, and where the danger lies, is in the texting acronyms parents DON’T know…
and there are hundreds and hundreds.
In fact, there is an online dictionary of texting acronyms at Netlingo.com that is updated regularly as the abbreviated/code words continue to develop.
I’ve compiled 150 here that I believe parents NEED to know. Some are clearly sexual, others might refer to drugs, or cyber-bullying… possibly even suicidal thoughts.
What struck me was not only the sheer number of potential “predator” words: ASL (age, sex, location), WTTP? (want to trade pictures), LMIRL (let’s meet in real life), SUGARPIC (suggestive or erotic photos) to name a few, but also the prevalence of code words to hide from parents: 9, CD9 (parents are around), PIR (parents in room), PAW (parents are watching), POS (parent over shoulder), KPC (keeping parents clueless).
It’s bad enough that there are evil people/evil intentions in the world that we have to protect our children from, but that they are intentionally evading our protection seems somehow worse?
We’re not the enemy or the ‘fun police’… but how do we teach them that?
I’m not a conspiracy theorist and I don’t believe that everyone has heinous intentions – these texting acronyms could easily be used between a girlfriend and boyfriend of legal age and with consent… but even that doesn’t change the damage that can be done with one single SUGARPIC or AMEZRU? (am easy are you?) text. (Kim Kardashian’s career began with a taped moment between her and her husband).
While I don’t have the answers on how to protect our children best – I do think that this list of texting acronyms is a good place to start. If we can understand what they are talking about, perhaps we can talk TO them as well.
Printable PDF available here: Texting acronyms parents NEED to know
Now that I’ve scared the shit out of you (as it did me)…
(Try to) have a great one!