What's New Under the Sun? Kids (and Adults) and Social Media, Part IV: Words, WORDS, WRDZ
As a "Word Person," I can't help but wonder if SSEWBA. If so, will I still be able to talk to my kids?
M$UlkeCraZ. Want 121, F2F.
Not 2nite 4sure.
L?^L8R? 2moro? COBRAS?
Lol. Not sure.
Yep. DISTO? JK. Sort of. FOGC?
Looked it up. Aww…that’s sweet. ;) Still, IDK…
AUNT—u can trust me.
TBH, B4U I never would've…but 1432.
It will b ok. FTFOI? I will delete right after. KPC. WDYT? WRU?
IDK…In my room…
J Send me a Pic? Plz? GNOC?
GOI. UR cra-cra. GNSD.
No. Let’s GOWI. IPN. Sending u a pic now. NVNG…SHMILY?
Patch Parents, if this were a test, would you make the grade? How much of this conversation did you get?
Take <3, B4 2day, my answer would have been: “Not much.”
If u2 would earn an “F” in text-reading, you’d better “CUWTA” so your kids aren’t “KPC!"
K. Maybe my example is OTT. Maybe most teens don’t even understand all these abbreviations. But there’s a chance they do.
I guess I wouldn’t know — I’ve not often been the “POS” (NTTAWWT).
I’ve always allowed my kids their privacy in that realm, but I do think that parents should be vigilant in having conversations with their kids about texting (even amidst the texting) and do their best to know who and what is being texted.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have all of the answers, and I don’t know for sure that my kids aren’t having inappropriate conversations.
But I don’t think that they are. I believe they’re making good choices.
So far, I haven’t felt the need to check their texts. But I’ve had many friends who routinely check their children’s texts, and I respect that parenting choice (even while I think: Um…your kids are savvy enough to delete anything they don’t want you to see…)
As a parent, I’ve tried to raise my kids to be autonomous. (As a “word person” I feel compelled to share that this word comes from “auto,” which means “self” and “nom” which means “law/order.") “Self rule” is the best kind of “ordering," because it the most important form. No one can (nor should they) follow me around to make sure I’m making good choices; I have to be responsible for myself. Ultimately, our kids must be responsible for their choices, as well.
That said, I also know that teenagers’ brains are not fully developed and that impulses are easily given into at that age. Even as an adult, in the conversation above, I can feel myself being pulled, getting caught up in the moment. FTFOI, even.
But temptation often leads to something that is not-so-fun afterward.
As parents, we carefully consider how much involvement we feel we need to have to help teens make wise online/cell choices. We want to ensure our teens’ safety, but I wonder: is “ensure” even the right word choice here? Is it even possible? Perhaps “hoping for” or “trying to protect” would be a better choice. (Here I go again — obsessing on words…)
It is a personal parenting preference how to monitor your child’s online/texting life. No one can tell you what rules are “right” for your family.
Some parents feel that there should be no computers or electronic devices in bedrooms. Period. That is a good rule. A respectable parenting choice. A safe choice.
In other homes, kids are permitted to have electronic devices in their rooms. These devices are useful for school work, communication, building general knowledge, and as an alarm. Many find it a non-issue where these electronics are used.
My kids put their phones and ipads aside in order to observe reasonable bed times (which they’ve typically set on their own). Because we have had a general practice of not locking bedroom doors, they know that even though their rooms are their own, they may be frequented by other family members — often. We’ve found this to provide a healthy balance of privacy versus accountability.
Ultimately, you as a parent should discern what is best for your children. Because each child has unique personality traits, strengths and struggles, the rules may be different for different children. “Fair” does not always equal “equal.”
You know your child better than anyone. (URYY4M.) Choose rules that you feel are truly in his/her best interest.
Keep in mind: No matter what your rules are when you are with your child, she WILL make her own decisions when she is away from you. During the school day, at a friend’s house, when she graduates and goes to college. Part of fostering autonomy (self-rule) is to allow children to experience the natural consequences of their choices.
I realize that the results of poor online choices can be devastating (see last week’s article for that discussion) so this is a hard thing for me to champion. But we cannot live our children’s lives for them. They simply must choose for themselves.
When my child is hurting, I hurt too. I am committed to walking the hard road with them. To love them through whatever choices they make, for better or for worse. While my desire is to head those unwise choices off at the pass (through honest communication and forthright dialogue, including suggestions for "come back lines" when text threads begin to spiral in an unhealthy direction) I am also willing for my children to learn from their mistakes. I will walk their broken road with them and (insofar as I am able) share their burden.
I trust that their experiences (including unfortunate choices) will be a part of what shapes their character. For better.
I also believe that it is our parenting responsibility to do all the research we can to understand our kids’ world. That probably means keeping current on the “text-acronyms” (which, by the way, are mostly just abbreviations). Actual acronyms (“acro”/“beginning” + “onym”/“name”) spell out a new word that can be pronounced as a word. Text abbreviations are just that: abbreviations. In other words, “SWIM” is an acronym, but “TMA” is really just a text-abbreviation. As much as it drives us Word People “cr8zy,” the general population’s use of words tends to redefine their meanings. DYLI?
I guess we parents must also learn to adapt. To survive. Learning the lingo is one small part of that. Even if you think it’s a CWOT, it may shine some light on cryptic texts. Besides, some people (not we Word People — we simply refuse!) believe that SSEWBA.
B4N. TOPCA. <3
ICYC, here’s “The Growth Chart’s” Text Acronym/Abbreviation
Key. (NTK how many are devoted to keeping parents in the dark, eh?) ;-/
- 121-One to one
- 143-I love you
- 1432-I Love You Too
- AITR-Adult In The Room
- ALAP-As Late As Possible
- AUNT-And U Know This
- B4N-Bye For Now
- B4U-Before You
- BTWBO-Be There With Bells On
- BTWITIAILWU-By The Way I Think I Am
In Love With You
- CICYHW-Can I Copy Your Home Work
- CRA-Z- Crazy, Cra-Cra
- CUWTA-Catch Up With The
- COBRAS- Come On By Right After School
- CWOT-Complete Waste Of Time
- DISTO-Did I Say That Outloud?
- DYLI- Do You Love It?
- FOGC-Fear Of Getting Caught
- F2f-Face to Face
- FTFOI-For The Fun Of It
- GNOC-Get Naked On Cam
- GNSD-Good Night Sweet Dreams
- GOI-Get Over It
- GOWI- Get on with it.
- HUD- How You Doing
- HBU- How Bout You
- IDK- I Don’t Know.
- ICYC- In Case You’re Curious
- IPN- I’m posting naked
- ITS-intense text sex
- IYD-In your dreams
- I&I-Intercourse & Inebriation
- JK- Just Kidding
- K- O.K.
- KPC- Keeping Parents Clueless
- LHOLS-Let’s Have Online Sex
- L?^L8R- Let’s Hook Up Later
- MOS- Mom Over Shoulder
- M$UlkeCraZ-Miss You Like Crazy
- NTK- Nice to know
- NTTAWWT-Not That There's Anything Wrong With That
- NVNG-Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
- OTT-Over The Top
- P911-Parent Alert
- 9-Parent is watching
- 99-Parent is no longer watching
- PA-Parent Alert
- PAL-Parents Are Listening
- PAW-Parents Are Watching
- POS-Parent Over Shoulder
- POMS- Parent Over My Shoulder
- PBB-Parent Behind Back
- PIR-Parent in room
- PRW-Parents R Watching
- RMMA-Reading My Mind Again
- SHMILY-See How Much I Love You
- SSEWBA-Someday Soon, Everything Will Be Acronyms
- SWIM- See What I Mean?
- TBH-To Be Honest
- TMA-Too many Acronyms
- TOPCA-Til Our Paths Cross Again
- TYVM- Thank You Very Much
- URYY4M-You Are Too Wise For Me
- WRU-Where Are You?
- WDYT?-What Do You Think
- ::poof::-i'm gone
Parent-Teen Discussion Questions:
- Did you know these abbreviations? Do most
kids/parents know and use these? Or is it an OTT example?
Responding to the Thread:
- How does a conversation like this get started?
- What consequences could the teens having the
conversation face, depending on the outcome-- whether or not pictures were sent?
- Do you think that “online sex” quickly leads teens to “the real thing”?
- What is the gender of the one who started the conversation? The other? Could it be reversed from what you just said? Does that
make you think differently about who is likely to be the initiator of sexting?
- How do you think each person is feeling? What is
each conflicted about?
- Is there a way to stop a conversation like that before it “goes too far”? What healthy "comeback lines" could the sext recipient have used to lead the conversation back to a better place?
- Should a teen continue to date someone who starts conversations like this one?
- What do think the rules should be regarding where electronic devices are used in our home?
- What are some of your own personal rules about texting?