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Decrypting Your Kids’ Internet Lingo

by Parent on July 20, 2011

Can you define these messaging acronyms, also known as text message shorthand? (Answers found at the end of the article.)

143

303

BRB

DARFC

FOGC

FWB

IDK

IMO

J2LYK

LOL

MIH

NNWW

P911

PIR

PU

ROTFL

WTF

WU

All of us are keenly aware of the new language that has begun to emerge over the last several years due to the popularity of instant messaging and text messaging. Recently, the Oxford English Dictionary even began adding texting acronyms and terms to their entries. With the invention of this new language, parents of the younger generation may begin to feel as if they can’t always understand their children.


It is possible to have a slight language barrier even between parent and child. Don’t get frustrated! There are a few things you can do to ensure that you, as a parent, are able to communicate well with your child.

Most likely you have heard of some of these acronyms, since many are rampant in contemporary culture. However, there are many that you may not have heard of before and that your kids may be using. All messaging codes serve two purposes: 1. They make it much faster to type what you want to say, and 2. They make it so that others including parents, will have a harder time understanding what is being said.

There are two very good ways for you, as parents, to be able to ensure your child’s safe practice of texting and messaging language. The first method should be obvious, and something that you already work at regularly: have a strong relationship of trust with your child. If you are constantly reassuring your child and supporting them in the challenges that they face, then you won’t need to worry about the people and the things they are texting. The idea is that you will be able to talk openly with your child about any issues they are having.

The second method to help parents stay in the texting loop is to learn how to text yourself, and to even use some of the slang terms. This will help you get comfortable with your child’s language as well as understand how the texting world works. Texting is one of those things that you have to actually experience first hand in order to fully grasp how it works. Plus, if you come across a text message your child has received or sent, the overuse of these acronyms may leave you completely befuddled if you aren’t used to how it works. But don’t get overwhelmed.

There are many sources online that can usually help you decode any slang you don’t understand. Picture and video messages are also a very common way to send messages, so make sure you are aware of the different mediums through which your child is sending and receiving messages.

Times are definitely changing, and there are no signs that things will be slowing down anytime soon. Who knows? Maybe in your own lifetime they will invent an entirely new language based on texting shorthand and even teach it in schools. Start now and do all you can to keep up with the trends. This will not only help you connect more with your children, but help you keep them safe as they venture out into this world full of technology hipsters.

143 – I love you, 303 – Mom
BRB – Be right back
DARFC – Ducking and Running for Cover
FOGC – Fear of Getting Caught
FWB – Friends with Benefits
IDK – I Don’t Know
IMO – In My Opinion
J2LYK – Just to Let You Know
LOL – Laugh out Loud
MIH – Make it Happen
NNWW – Nudge, nudge, wink, wink
P911 – Parents are Listening
PIR – Person in Room
PU – That Stinks
ROTFL – Rolling on the Floor Laughing
WTF – What the Freak (or F*%$@)
WU – What’s Up?

About the Author:
Natalie Clive is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them search for online degrees that can help them reach their goals.

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