OMG: Teen Texting Terms You Should Know

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Happy Safer Internet Day! Feb. 10 marks the 12th annual event, established to highlight emerging Internet issues — from cyber-bullying to social networking — as a way of encouraging children, parents, teachers, industry leaders, and politicians to work together to “build a better Internet for all.”

STORY: The Dangers of Using Your Phone as a ‘Shut Up Toy’ 

In honor of the occasion, now acknowledged in more than 100 countries, Yahoo Parenting and Yahoo Tech have rounded up a selection of stories highlighting technology, children, and families, as well as created a handy video giving parents a sneak peek into the lingo your teen or tween may be using online and in text messages with friends.

STORY: ‘Safer Internet Day’ Raises Important Topics 

“Technology definitely adds to parents’ struggle to protect their kids,” Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) program manager Denise DeRosa tells Yahoo Parenting. “Yet it’s important to remember that this challenge has always been there and, overwhelmingly, kids are probably using their devices in a positive way, to plan going to the movies or talk to their friends about school and such, like the rest of us.”

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Photo by Getty Images/Monkey Business Images 

Still, there are a few codes the kids are using that you may want to be aware of. Cool Mom Tech’s cheat sheet highlights characters commonly used to conceal activity from mom and dad, a sampling of which includes:

PIR = Parent in room
PAL = Parents are Listening
AITR = Adult in the room
PAW = Parents are Watching
PA or PA911 = Parent Alert
CD9 or Code 9 = Parent around
99 = Parent gone
303 = Mom

But even if you do happen to catch your child pecking out such teen speak, don’t freak. “Simply say, I know [potentially inappropriate] communication happens and I want you to know that I’m going to be checking in on you,” says DeRosa. “Tell your child, ‘If I find out that you’re engaging in inappropriate behavior, you will lose privileges.’”

The point, she insists, isn’t to punish but to prompt a dialogue. “The most important thing is to talk to kids about what they’re doing online,” she says. “You don’t want them to feel like they always have to be hiding things. The more overbearing you are, the faster they’ll find a new way to make sure you don’t see what they’re doing.”

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