Understanding teenager talk, what are they saying to each other??

On Safer Internet Day (7 February 2017), UK Internet service provider BT revealed that 5.2 million adults are clueless when it comes to interpreting what kids are saying online.

Over 4,500 adults took part in the research, and the majority were not able to translate the real meaning of slang that children use on the internet and cellphones.

A different study conducted by South African Kids Online interviewed 552 parents to find out how they used the internet themselves and how they mediated their children’s internet use. The study found that although children are generally active, engaged internet users, they tend not to receive much support from their parents, teachers and friends around their internet use, and generally were free to use the internet without supervision. This suggests that children are in need of more support from their parents, teachers and friends, around how to use the internet safely, which includes monitoring internet and cellphone chats and language.

We’re not advocating that you try to read all messages and online chats (or that you start using these acronyms and symbols yourself!), but being aware of common codes can help you identify any potential problems and keep children safe online.

Here are some hints to help you crack the code:


10 Texting codes every parent and teacher should be aware of

And these aren’t even though most serious ones. Although KMS was interpreted by 65% of parents as “Keep my secret”, the acronym actually means “Kill myself”.

The cryptic number “99” indicates that “Parents have stopped watching”; GNOC = “Get naked on camera”; and only 4% of the adults surveyed could identify decipher MIA, which is used by some young people online when they are talking about Bulimia, an eating disorder.

Bur rather than just be known as a code-cracker, parents should speak to young people about how they use social media and chat online. Children’s use of the internet is developing at a rapid pace, and online safety starts with a conversation.
What you can do:

Most importantly, let them know that you are there to support and protect them, not just be SOS (remember what that one means?)