Have you heard of teens using texting codes to keep their life secret from their parents? The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) came across a guide that detailed and decoded teen texting lingo. They shared the guide on social media to inform parents and help keep minors safe online.
According to The Independent, an online newspaper in Britain, this guide went viral. In the comments section of the post, several parents commented that they found it helpful and others tagged their friends so that they could see it too. It's proving to be a popular resource for concerned parents.
Well, you heard it here first folks! This "guide" was a part of an article we wrote last month. "Secret 'sexting' codes kids are using" was published on our site on January 5 and the PSNI posted our codes sheet to their Facebook and Twitter page on January 6.
Note: This guide is mostly a list of acronyms but the bottom of the sheet shows emojis that can have sexual meanings. Read this article to become more informed about the x-rated double entendres behind other popular emojis.
As of now, their Twitter post with our guide only has a few likes and retweets. However, on Facebook, the post has over 1,000 reactions (likes, hahas, and wows), over 1,000 comments, and almost 5,000 shares! When we posted the initial article, we never expected the information to make it all the way across the pond but we're glad so many parents have found it useful.
If you still haven't seen the guide, it's posted below. Just be aware that it does contain graphic language.
Now that you know these codes, what's next? Here are some tips for protecting your child online.
Have open dialogue - Make sure you talk to your kids about online safety. Let them know the risks that come with being online and that they can speak with you anytime a problem arises. Explain that serious consequences, such as time in jail, are a real possibility.
Secure and monitor their devices - A free app like Phone Tracker shows you texts and web activity. You can review the browser history and block inappropriate sites. You can also set parental controls with a device like Circle. It allows you to create and customize parental controls for any device on the network.