Keeping your kids safe online - slang every parent should know
Do you know what your kids are up to online? Of course you do! You’ve blocked all the porn sites, set up filters, and even have a monitoring program to let you know if your kids are talking about sex, or porn, or meeting up with “uncle bob” from the chat room. You’re a smart parent, but you'd be shocked if you knew what your kids were really talking about online.
There’s a new trend popular among teenage chatters, and your filters won’t pick up any of it. It’s called l33tspeak, netspeak or just plain internet slang (leet speak from the word elite). You know what I’m talking about. Acronyms like lol wtf bbiab and nm. Today's kids are also lazy, and use single letter words: U replaces you, R replaces are, o replaces oh, m replaces am etc…
Less popular, but still widely used (especially in games) is true l33tspeak, which involves using numbers instead of letters. 4 replaces A, 3 replaces E, 7 replaces T 1 replaces L, and $ replaces S. These are just a few examples, some of it is worse like /\/ and /\/\ , or 13 instead of B.
Today’s kids are taking their creativity to the internet, and it’s affecting the way they speak. Kids (just like computer programmers) don't like to type a lot, so they try to shorten their keystrokes whenever possible. It's not only affecting the way they speak, it's starting to affect the way they write. So bad in fact, that school teachers have even reported seeing “lol” (laughing out loud) turn up on hand-written papers. (How would you pronounce that?)
Many kids as old as 17 don’t know the difference between homonyms such as there, their, and they’re. There aren’t too many 17 year olds left who can even spell h-o-m-o-n-y-m anymore, and no it isn’t spelled with an i. Remember when your high school teachers used to complain about a comma splice? Today's high school teachers are struggling to teach kids how to spell, and instant messaging isn't helping.
If you’re concerned about your kids, it’s absolutely crucial you learn to understand their language. Your filters may pick up porn, but do they catch the word “pron”? What about warez, which is short for illegally obtained software.
Another key phrase is the word paw
, short for “parents are watching” or pos
for "parents over shoulder". Every parent should be familiar with this term. Can you think of a non-naughty use for that sentence? I can’t. Learn to recognize the warning signs and find out what they're doing that they don't want you to know about.
Sure you blocked porn sites, but what about Google image search? Any teenager can tell you that online image searches are the best free porn sites ever. Go ahead, Try It
Just type in anything remotely dirty and see what you get.
So what can you do? Talk to your kids. Get your own copy of AOL Instant Messenger and put their names on your buddy list. Read their profiles, you’ll be surprised what you find in there.
Need to find out what they’re up to? Try typing their screen name, email address, name, or cell phone number into Google and see what pops up. I guarantee you’ll find your son or daughter’s picture, email address, and tons of should be private information about them listed on sites like hotornot.com, buddypic.com, facebattle.com, facethejury.com, or facebook.com
Does your son or daughter have a blog? If so do you read it? You probably should. There’s nothing wrong with reading their diary if they’re posting it on the internet. Thousands of other people are reading it. How much personal information are they giving to complete strangers? You'll be surprised.
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