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Spotted your teen texting about wanting to “KPC”? It’s not a typo about hitting Kentucky Fried Chicken. She’s more likely intent on “keeping parents clueless.” As many parents are just now discovering, there’s a veritable dictionary of acronyms like this one, created for that exact purpose, and used widely online in social media and texting apps.
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Cool Mom Tech’s cheat sheet includes more lingo about concealing activity from mom and dad:
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 the above acronyms aren’t the most concerning when it comes to teens, Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) program manager Denise DeRosa tells Yahoo Parenting. It’s the sex stuff. And the list of lingo about sexual activity is long – not to mention, graphic:
GNOC = Get naked on camera
GYPO = Get your pants off
IWSN= I want sex now
LH6 = Let’s have sex
CU46 = See you for sex
8 = Oral sex
TDTM = Talk dirty to me
IPN= I’m posting naked
NIFOC= Naked in front of computer
WTTP= Want to trade pictures?
?^= Want to Hook Up?
NSA=No Strings Attached
RU/18 = Are You Over 18?
I&I = Intercourse & Inebriation
“The most important thing is to talk to kids about what they’re doing online,” says DeRosa. “Of course kids are going to change the acronyms they use as soon as parents catch on, but 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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To keep the lines of communication open – so that your teen will come to you, or a big sister or older cousin to talk before they respond to that first “GNOC” text – let him or her know that you trust them. “If you gave them a phone in the first place,” she says, “you showed them that you trust them so you need to follow through on that.”
Fifty-one percent of parents gave their child his or her own cell phone (at age 11 on average), FOSI found in their survey of Parenting in the Digital Age. (Yet just 36 percent of parents with a child age 14 to 17 admit that they think they know more than their child about technology and online activities.)
DeRosa advocates a direct approach to broaching touchy topics like sexting. “Simply say, I know this kind of communication happens and I want you to know that I’m going to be checking in on you,” she explains. “If I find out that you’re engaging in inappropriate behavior, you will lose privileges.” That could mean blocking someone or taking the phone or internet access away.
“Technology definitely adds to parents’ struggle to protect their kids,” adds DeRosa. “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.” In other words, no need to go SOBT (“stressing out big time”).