OMG! Cracking the teen text code - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

OMG! Cracking the teen text code

(KLTV/FOX19) - For most parents, it's unfathomable--sending and receiving thousands of text messages a day.

However, for teenagers, that's about average.  High school senior Sarah Cargill says she's been flexing her texting muscles since she got her hands on her very first cell phone.  

"Words like great--GRT--I used to shorten all the time," she said. 

WTF, or, "what-the-****" has now become part of everyday speech.

Ryan Jones, a former software engineer, was one of those grown-ups who just could not figure it all out.

"I knew what LOL (laugh out loud) and IDK (I don't know) meant, but I was joking with some people one day, saying, 'I need a translator to understand you,'" said Jones.

So Jones created one:  www.NoSlang.com.

Jones said it started out as a site to help him and others unfamiliar with the lingo to stay "text-speak" savvy. It's been five years since the site launched, and things have changed. Parents now log on around the world hoping to decipher what it is that their children are saying/typing/texting.  There's a message translator and even quizzes parents can take to test their skills.

"All kids text and talk and IM (instant message) like this, including the kids that are hiding stuff," said Jones.

Noslang.com features a entire dictionary of slang terms, A-to-Z, covering a different terms related to drugs, video games, and sexting.

We showed NoSlang's "Top 25 Every Parent Should Know" to Sarah and her mother, Holly Cargill.  Cargill is a high school administrator.

"I feel like I'm pretty much in the know, but some of those things really did surprise me," she said.

For example,"GNOC" means "get naked on camera." "CU46" is translated as "see you for sex."

"A/S/L/P" is a request for "age, sex, location and a picture." We found other messages that were even more graphic.

We asked Cargill how she would handle a situation if a similar message just happened to come across one of her kids' phones.  "We engage," she said. "We have a, 'come to Jesus' meeting!"

Family therapist Beverly Womack said parents have to confront it, head-on. 

"Talk to these children about what this means and what's going on," she said. Womack welcomes sites like NoSlang.com because parents need to educate themselves.

"We're in a whole different world of jargon with the younger generation." 

Cargill's daughter Sarah couldn't send a photo from her phone if she tried, and Cargill said everything is public.

"Facebook, email, anything--open communication is priority with your kids so that you know what's going on and they don't feel that they have to hide anything," she said.  

Talk with your kids about the reasons you are choosing to monitor their cell phone and computer usage, and use its as an opportunity to open up communication and dialogue with your family about safety.  It can be an excellent way to bond with your son or daughter.

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