NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you want to know what your kids are texting about, sometimes reading the message is not enough.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, teens often use abbreviations to hide the meaning of their conversations – and there are a lot of new ones you might not know about.
“I use abbreviations for everything I text,” said Amari Sims.
Sims figures her parents only know some of the slang that teens like to use to type and text faster, such as “LOL.”
“‘Laugh out loud’ – everyone knows that one,” one family said.
But there are others that Amari and her sister Ashtyn said they would never use. However, some of their peers do.
Many teens tap in to secret parent-proof abbreviations to text and even sext.
CBS2 showed the girls’ mother, Crystal Sims, a list, including:
• “IWS” for “I want sex;”
• “GYPO” for “get your pants off;”
• “GNOC” for “get naked on camera.”
Crystal Sims did not know what any of them meant. But she guessed, correctly, that “CU46” means “see you for sex.”
“Oh, we would shut it down. I would shut it down,” Crystal Sims said. They wouldn’t even know that a phone was.”
And it can be more than harmless letters and numbers on a screen. A study done in a Southern California school district found of the teenagers who had phones, one out of seven was texting.
“I’ve seen things like that, yeah,” said Shelby LaPierre, 17.
But LaPierre said she stays away from such behavior — believing her father, Guy, when he said, “It never goes away and they know that.”
CBS2 showed him the list, and he responded, “Oh my God.”
CBS2 also noted that a solitary number 9 means “parent watching.”
“I knew a couple of them, but not this many,” Guy LaPierre said.
Technology allows parents to make sure every text their child sends and receives gets sent to them too., and there are companies — including Bark – that are set up with algorithms to detect signs of sexting bullying and suicidal thoughts and send alerts to parents.
“You’ve got to stay a step ahead of what kids are getting in to so you can protect them,” said Bark chief parent officer Titania Jordan. “Let them know that you know.”
Experts say if talk to kids openly and in a non-judgmental tone about proper and safe texting, they may react badly in the moment but thank you one day.
For a few more text codes used by teens, “PIR” means “parent in room,” and “POS” means “parent over shoulder.”