Internet and Text Slang Guide for Parents

There are many ways that we communicate with one another, usually represented through facial expressions, body posture, gestures, and speech. These factors allow people to pose concerns, ask questions, and share ideas with one another. In the modern age, more and more people (especially tweens and teenagers) are moving towards technological devices for communication. Cell phones, computers, and similar devices have become the means for one of the most popular ways to communicate. These technological devices do have their advantages, but sometimes come at the expensive of a teacher or parent. Not all adults understand text slang or certain phrases, symbols, and terms used by the younger generation to communicate via text message. It can be helpful for parents to learn about texting and the common slang words and symbols associated with e-communicating. Parents have the responsibility of educating their children of the do’s and don’ts of using these devices to communicate and keep them safe.

Basics of Texting

Texting is referred to as a way for people to communicate by sending and receiving brief typed messages to and from one another. This action requires a technological device, such as a computer or cell phone with the right capabilities. Advanced features found on modern messaging technology also allow people to send and receive pictures, videos, and voice recordings along with the text message. While text messaging was initially created for times when voice communication was undesired or not possible, text messages have come to nearly replace voice communication altogether. Many phone companies are now adding a text message package into their customer’s monthly bills, although many remote countries still charge by the text.

Facts about Texting

For the last several years, text messaging has seen a noticeable jump in popularity. According to studies performed on the subject, a typical adult sends up to 45 texts each day. For tweens and teens, this number more than doubles as they send up to 100 messages each day. While texting has its advantages, many faults remain. Sexually explicit communication among students ages 12 to 18, known as sexting, has become a dangerous trend. Cyber bullying is another common occurrence that has devastating results. Fortunately, many organizations at state and federal levels have stepped up to act against sexting, cyberbullying, and other hazardous actions - making each act punishable by law in certain U.S. states.

Identifying Text Terms

Parents, educators, and other adults who are concerned about their children often look to further understand text slang and “Internet talk.” Since texting terms are constantly changing, it can be difficult to understand the unique symbols and terms used by tweens and teens. In most cases, unfamiliar phrases, terms, and acronyms can be translated by making an online search. Adults without Internet access may be able to get these terms translated by other members of the family, college students, or friends. Some parents may resort to asking the sender of the message or recipient what the message means.

Identifying Text Symbols

Tweens and teens may also use symbols to represent certain words or meanings. Translating these unfamiliar symbols may be hard to decipher, especially to those who have never seen or used them personally. Just like any other type of teen slang, phrase, text and Internet symbols can be translated with an online search. It may be helpful to seek assistance from a retail professional with knowledge of electronics, computers, and similar devices about what a certain symbol means.

Educating Your Teen

Once parents better understand the meaning of basic text terms and symbols, it will be easier to educate their children on the do’s and don’ts of Internet communication. Teaching the younger generation the responsibility that comes with texting is essential to keep your child safe and away from online predators, cyberbullying, and other mishaps that go along with text messaging. Be sure that your child understands that they should never send a sexually explicit message under any circumstance. Be sure to remind them that they can go to a teacher, parent, or guardian whenever they feel threatened or if they are aware of someone else being threatened by a message in any way. Finally, the younger generation should be encouraged to go with their gut feeling in relation to Internet and texting – if it seems wrong or if you know it’s illegal, be smart and find an adult.

Parents and other adults interested in learning more about text slang, texting, and text-related terms and symbols should use the following resources: