000-017   000-080   000-089   000-104   000-105   000-106   070-461   100-101   100-105  , 100-105  , 101   101-400   102-400   1V0-601   1Y0-201   1Z0-051   1Z0-060   1Z0-061   1Z0-144   1z0-434   1Z0-803   1Z0-804   1z0-808   200-101   200-120   200-125  , 200-125  , 200-310   200-355   210-060   210-065   210-260   220-801   220-802   220-901   220-902   2V0-620   2V0-621   2V0-621D   300-070   300-075   300-101   300-115   300-135   3002   300-206   300-208   300-209   300-320   350-001   350-018   350-029   350-030   350-050   350-060   350-080   352-001   400-051   400-101   400-201   500-260   640-692   640-911   640-916   642-732   642-999   700-501   70-177   70-178   70-243   70-246   70-270   70-346   70-347   70-410   70-411   70-412   70-413   70-417   70-461   70-462   70-463   70-480   70-483   70-486   70-487   70-488   70-532   70-533   70-534   70-980   74-678   810-403   9A0-385   9L0-012   9L0-066   ADM-201   AWS-SYSOPS   C_TFIN52_66   c2010-652   c2010-657   CAP   CAS-002   CCA-500   CISM   CISSP   CRISC   EX200   EX300   HP0-S42   ICBB   ICGB   ITILFND   JK0-022   JN0-102   JN0-360   LX0-103   LX0-104   M70-101   MB2-704   MB2-707   MB5-705   MB6-703   N10-006   NS0-157   NSE4   OG0-091   OG0-093   PEGACPBA71V1   PMP   PR000041   SSCP   SY0-401   VCP550   000-080   1Z0-051   300-208   350-029   102-400   1z0-434   220-801   70-347   1Z0-804   210-260   640-911   300-135   NSE4   EX200   070-461   70-534   700-501   9L0-012   MB6-703   400-101   70-480   M70-101   SY0-401   PMP   1Z0-061   9A0-385   642-732   000-017   9L0-066   JN0-102   1Z0-061   70-411   1V0-601   300-206   400-051   MB2-707   640-692   101   70-346   CISSP   HP0-S42   PR000041   PMP   300-075   200-125  , 300-135   CCA-500   2V0-620   CISM   OG0-093  

Growing Up Online: Translating Your Teen’s Texts – Greater Pensacola Parents Growing Up Online: Translating Your Teen’s Texts – Greater Pensacola Parents

Growing Up Online: Translating Your Teen’s Texts

Most parents know that LOL means Laughing Out Loud. You may even know that 420 refers to marijuana. But you may not know that  53X means sex. That worries Brian Bason, CEO at Bark, a new monitoring app. Their website includes a list of popular texting slang terms (tinyurl.com/gqp9tex).  For $9.99 a month, they promise to alert parents when kids text something risky.

Of course, slang is nothing new. Parents have been scrambling to keep up with it for generations.  Using freshly minted words that adults won’t understand appeals to kids for two reasons.  First, it helps kids establish and reinforce a social identity. People who understand the same secret language are likely to be part of the same tribe.  Slang establishes an in group that understands and out group that seems hopelessly out of touch.

Second, slang allows kids to fly under adult radar, talking about things that might be forbidden if the adults could translate what they were saying. Siblings often develop this kind of secret language—winks and whispers and even special words that let them communicate about things that Mom and Dad might not appreciate.

Messaging, of course, has added a new dimension to all of this. Keyboards are tiny. Attention spans are short. Acronyms and emojis make it possible to crowd a lot of information into a small space. As a result, messages have become more and more cryptic and difficult for parents to decipher.

Much of the new slang being used online is harmless and even creative. Some of the better acronyms enter the language. Pretty much everyone knows about FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), IRL (In Real Life) and BRB (Be Right Back). Other very useful acronyms include JSYK (Just so You Know), SMH (Shaking My Head), TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) and YOLO (You Only Live Once).

Still, parents need to be alert. The kinds of speech that would be unacceptable IRL should also be off limits in texting. In particular, parents will want to monitor texting for:

Sex.  Most teens seem to have gotten the message that sending nude photos isn’t a good idea. That doesn’t mean teens aren’t texting about 53X.  Even  emojis may have a double meaning – an eggplant can stand in for male genitals; a peach may refer to someone’s backside.  It’s perfectly natural, of course, for young people to take an interest in sex, but parents need to chaperone, watching for behavior that is too adult or partners who may be predatory.

Substances.  Slang has always been part of drug and alcohol culture.  Using coded language is a way to evade legal authorities as well as parents.  Keeping up with the current terminology isn’t easy, especially since it often varies from place to place.  Talk to other parents and even school parents. And remember that drug terms sometimes have more than one meaning. Dabbing, for example, is both a dance craze and a way to use cannibas. Lit can mean getting high or simply having a good time.

Hate. Texting and social media are often used to bully and abuse other people because of their gender, race, ethnic origin or disabilities. Be clear with your child. A slur is a slur, and you won’t tolerate abusive language in any setting.

Bad Language. If you don’t want your child to say the F word, you will probably want to discourage the use of acronyms like WTF or AF. Even NSS may not be acceptable.

The best way to know what an acronym means is to ask the child who used it.  The security company, McAfee, also produces  a list of common terms, conveniently subdivided into categories for drugs, sex and  bullying.  Wiktionary also has a long list of acronyms in an Appendix (tinyurl.com/mab7snn).

Another way to educate yourself is to visit databases that try to keep up with slang as it’s created.  Here are several of the most complete collections:

Slang it.com is family friendly website (they also have free apps for Iphone and Android).  When you enter a slang term, you get a clean and accurate definition. They also have a daily quiz question that might be a conversation starter at the dinner table.

Noslang.com has been keeping track of net slang since 2005, They offer a text slang translator and a reverse translator that turns English phrases into acronyms.   In their articles section, there’s a helpful essay called “What Every Parent Should Know.”

Internet slang.com also allows parents to look up acronyms.  Their Trending Terms section helps parents zero in current terminology.

Acronymsandslang.com has an enormous list of acronyms, organized into categories. With over 20,000 entries in the Internet category, they are likely to supply an explanation for almost any acronym.

The Urban Dictionary also has a very complete list of slang of all kinds. The definitions are crowd-sourced so they are generally irreverent and often obscene.  The site is not suitable for children, but may be useful to parents because it’s regularly up-dated by its users.

Of course, trying to keep up with adolescent slang is like playing Whack-a-mole. As soon as a term is widely understood by adults, it loses its value for kids and they will move on. That’s why parents have to reinforce that idea that kids shouldn’t say anything online that they would say IRL (in real life).  With that in mind, you might also want to introduce an acronym of your own – WWGmaS (What Would Grandma Say?)

Carolyn Jabs

Carolyn Jabs, M.A., raised three computer savvy kids including one with special needs. She has been writing Growing Up Online for ten years and is working on a book about constructive responses to conflict. Visit www.growing-up-online.com to read other columns. @ Copyright, 2016, Carolyn Jabs. All rights reserved.