Parent's Guide to Internet Speak

The days of Pig Latin are gone. There is a new language of code words, acronyms, and computer shorthand among teens. Kids are using it to disguise their conversations online and with instant messaging. Remember when we just whispered on the phone behind our bedroom doors?

But now you can find out what they're saying. Erin Jansen, an Internet consultant, has created a dictionary of the indecipherable language at http://www.netlingo.com/. (Side note: there is also an extensive list here of technical computer terms that's a great cheat sheet for the un-technified!)

Lingo2Word steps it up a notch with an interactive translator. All you do is type in your mysterious text and you get real English in return. They also feature popular up to the minute net lingo.

Twenty Words Every Parent Should Know:

According to www.netlingo.com:

POS: Parent over shoulder

PIR: Parent in room

P911: Parent alert

PAW: Parents are watching

PAL: Parents are listening

ASL: Age/Sex/Location

MorF: Male or female

SorG: Straight or gay

LMIRL: Let's meet in real life

KPC: Keeping parents clueless

TDTM: Talk dirty to me

IWSN: I want sex now

NIFOC: Nude in front of computer

GYPO: Get your pants off

ADR: Address

WYCM? Will you call me?

KFY: Kiss for you

MOOS: Member(s) of the opposite sex

MOSS or MOTSS: Member(s) of the same sex

NALOPKT: Not a lot of people know that

Why the Lingo?

Teenage computer speak is specifically designed to mask the meaning of their messages from parents and other adults. They can engage in whole conversations with a clueless parent looking at the screen. They can have a steamy affair complete with dirty details without getting caught.

Scarier still are the terms used by adults to lure kids into inappropriate relationships. Beware of NIFOC (nude in front of computer) and TDTM (talk dirty to me) especially when coupled with PIR (parent in room) a warning from the teen.

What’s a Parent to Do?

Should you be afraid, very afraid? Nah. Just educate yourself. Remember that this new language is always evolving. Get into the chat rooms your child visits. Don't get angry, get smart. We all want to protect our children from danger online. Net nannies won't do the trick. Keep communication lines open with your child. You can't monitor every single thing your kid does. You've got to instill your values and expectations and then trust the child from there.

Let kids come up with solutions. Agree on a set of behaviors acceptable for your family. They need to understand the why and how of protecting personal information. Most of all, they need to trust their own intuition enough to honor an icky feeling they get from an online interaction, and they need to trust you enough to let you know about it.

Many school districts are working with law enforcement to present Internet safety workshops for parents. Ask your school and if there's nothing planned, put one together.

My Kid Would Never Do That

Media Awareness Network did a survey in which 11-14-year-old girls admitted to revealing identifying information once they felt they had established trust in an online relationship. The scary part? The reported the trust could be gained in as little as fifteen minutes. This company creates presentations for school workshops as well.

We all want to believe that our kids are smart enough to avoid danger, but the truth is that it's our responsibility as parents to keep them out of dangerous situations as long as possible. They are going to learn this stuff from their friends and as parents we need to be on the offensive.

In addition to http://www.netlingo.com/, check our http://www.safety.sympatico.msn.com/ for more information about how to keep kids safe online.

Here's a fun quiz for younger kids and parents:

http://www.techcorps.org/resources/internetsafety/getnet.htm

"Leetspeak" is another language in itself. Learn to decipher the code at:

http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/children/leetspeak.mspx

Read more from Lela at www.leladavidson.com

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7 comments

lamaduck96 4 years ago

Y U NO UNDERSTAND 1337 !?

U 411 8UNcH 1200DYp00


digitalkdogg 5 years ago

You should also check out http://www.txt-dictionary.com


25 year old 6 years ago

OK... nearly all of those acronyms up there are utter crap. Whoever wrote this doesn't know they're talking about. Parents Over Shoulder? If the parent is over their kid's shoulder, they'll close whatever they don't want the parent to see!


JustAnotherTeen 7 years ago

Lawl lyk omg we iz stll safe =] lul u guyz is neva eva gunna find out what our convos mean so stfu n gtfo kthxbai :]


.............................. 7 years ago

wow you guys are out of the loop its evollved way more than that i mean wow thisway youll never figure our language out


.............................. 7 years ago

wow you guys are out of the loop its evollved way more than that i mean wow thisway youll never figure our language out


MyPCPanda profile image

MyPCPanda 8 years ago from Cyberspace

Awesome. Good posting here. To me, and I'm not that old... this Internet language is just another sign of kids losing the ability to be well-minded conscious thinking individuals. If you have to abbreviate a 2 or 3 letter word, what does that say about your intelligence? Will you ever be able to write, ON PAPER, a consciously valid thought?

OK rant over. Main point is parents need to learn and be cognizant of the new language, used overwhelmingly by kids today. I am an online safety guru and an advocate for monitoring software (specifically, PC Pandora). IMHO, there is no better way to know exactly what your child is up to – who they are talking to and what they are saying. And just because you monitor, doesn't mean you have to snoop or spy. But monitoring is only one step of good online parenting... talking, opening communication, explaining dangers are all essential! Soon, it will be second nature. But for this first generation of kids being raised in an online world and parents thereof, it's a learning curve.

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