Safer Internet Day – do you know what these popular text messages mean?
Many parents are still left totally confused by many of the text messages being sent by their children.
That's the news from a new report by BT who comissioned a poll to raise awareness of Safer Internet Day – which takes place to today.
Over 4,500 adults took part in the research with the majority not able to translate the real meaning of phrases such as MIA, KMS and the cryptic “99”.
Emojis are also leaving parents confused with many unaware of their actual meaning when sent between teenage friends.
When used by kids, the cheeky monkey with paws over its mouth can translate to “I won’t tell anyone’” but over half of parents could not identify this meaning.
And the emoji face with cross eyes is sometimes typed by children when they’ve seen something X-rated online, but five per cent of parents take this to mean that their child is tired, couldn’t see their friend’s point of view, or had been snubbed by a girl or boy.
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10 TEXT CODES EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW
PAL – Parents Are Listening
P999 – Parent Alert
NIFOC – Nude In Front Of The Computer
KOTL – Kiss On The Lips
420 – Marijuana
182 – I hate you
WTPA – Where the party at?
SOS – Someone over shoulder
SMH – Shaking my head
PIR – Parent in room
However, there are terms with far more serious implications such as KMS (Kill Myself) even though used in jest by some teens were thought to mean “Keep My Secret” by 65 per cent of parents.
Only four per cent of adults could decipher MIA, a more unusual acronym and used by some young people online when they are talking about eating disorder, Bulimia.
The number “99” is often used by children to indicate to their friends that their “Parents Have Stopped Watching” – a code which adults could find useful to know.
The generation gap is not so vast with some acronyms however, with eight per cent recognising GNOC as Get Naked On Camera and ASL as Age, Sex, Location.
More than 50 per cent of adults who took part in the quiz were aware of the secret meanings behind 182 (I Hate You), WTTP? (Want To Trade Pictures?) and (L)MIRL (Let’s Meet In Real Life).
However, this still leaves half of parents that do not understand these terms.
Speaking about the poll, Pete Oliver, managing director, Commercial, Marketing and Digital at BT, said: “For young people growing up with technology, this new language comes naturally, but it’s leaving some adults unsure about what is being said by their children online.
“As we mark Safer Internet Day 2017, we think it’s important for adults to speak to young people about how they use social media and chat online.
"There are additional measures that can be taken to protect young people online too, such as BT Parental Controls which can limit access to certain sites and set times for when children can use the internet.”
And Carolyn Bunting, general manager at Internet Matters, added: “Children’s use of the internet is developing at a rapid pace.
"While it is unrealistic to expect parents to understand every piece of internet slang their children will ever see, online safety starts with a conversation.
"It’s vital for parents to talk to their kids about their digital worlds, including the sorts of things they might experience online, and the types of issues to be aware of, from cyberbullying to privacy.
“For parents who want to find out more about their practical ways to keep their child safe online, we have advice and step-by-step guides on our website.”
For more information on internet safety for children, visit InternetMatters