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The Informed Parent

Texting and Internet Instant Messaging

by Shanna R. Cox, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on Nov. 12, 2007
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child or teen who is on a cell phone or blackberry device actively texting. It appears I am not the only one. This issue has also caught media attention of late as the distractions and dangers of this constant diversion are highlighted. Adults are often at a disadvantage in understanding and monitoring this type of activity. To many of us it is completely foreign.

 

I was interested to receive a brochure across my desk recently entitled, “What in the world are you kids doing online?” The pamphlet is actually a marketing tool advertising a book being sold by Random House. However, it did contain a fair amount of information that peaked my interest. Of note in particular was a listing of common codes used in texting and instant messaging that all parents should be aware of.

Here is a partial list:

20 = location
CP = sleepy
AEAP = as early as possible
CRS = can’t remember sh**
ASL = age, sex, location
F2F = face to face
BBS = be back soon
ILU = I love you
BIBO = beer in, beer out
IWSN = I want sex now
LMIRL = let’s meet in real life
NAZ = name, address, zip
NP = nosy parents
OLL = on line love
P911 = parents are coming!
POS = parent over shoulder
WTGP = want to go private?
YBS = you’ll be sorry
WYRN = what’s your real name?
CUOL = see you online

Although I have practiced various forms of shorthand over the years in medicine, many of these abbreviations were not immediately apparent to me. Many of them are simply the first letter of the words being expressed, but if you don’t “speak the language” it may be difficult to anticipate which word should come next. Also it is clear many of these “shorts” are quite explicit and have more serious connotations. I have written before about some of the simple safety concerns about having children interact online or on social websites. With internet browsers available on handheld devices, these types of exchanges are even more accessible and potentially hidden from parents.

Parents must take the time to educate themselves in this technology in order to monitor and supervise their children appropriately. By doing so, parents may initiate conversations that could have very important and timely counsel for their children. Parents might consider role playing some possible text, message, or email queries with their children in order to teach them safe and appropriate responses to protect themselves. At the minimum, this topic should reach the dinner table and be part of an active family discussion.




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