TGIF, RSVP or even ASAP may sound familiar; however as computers have transformed communications a new dialect has emerged: Internet lingo. Acronyms or character symbols called Emoticons (mixing symbols to express emotions or moods) enable teens to communicate with others in a few keystrokes. While often just a convenient and quick means of communication, many teens use these acronyms and symbols to warn their friends when parents might be present and even to discuss drug use in a code that parents can’t decipher.
Instant messages, blog entries and text messages often look like Sanskrit to parents, but decoding this lingo used in digital communications is an important monitoring skill that should not be overlooked. Here is a quick guide to help you translate what teens are saying online and in their cell phone text messages. Keep in mind that, as with street names for drugs, these symbols and acronyms are subject to frequent change, particularly when those who use them suspect that others have figured out what they mean.