November 23, 2015

Are the Acronyms Your Child Uses Online a Red Flag?

The Internet has truly become an integral aspect of society. We use it every day, from RiskySexualAcronyms_Parenting-2searching for the nearest Starbucks to applying for law school. One thing that has become particularly popular among its younger users is “Internet slang,” also known as acronyms. These shorthand phrases, used globally by teens both online and while texting, are generally just a simpler way of writing things out. However, there is a dark side of which all parents should be aware.

Acronyms have become much more complex and teens are now using them for just about anything. Instead of the usual “LOL” (Laughing Out Loud) and “OMG” (Oh My God), there are now phrases like “WTTP” (Want To Trade Pictures?). This shift is of growing concern for parents everywhere. It is not to say that parents now need to be “helicopter parents,” overly protective and critical of their children’s every move, but these acronyms are something worth knowing.

Before diving right into the intricate world of acronyms, here is a list of some of the basic Internet 101 phrases:

  1. BRB- Be Right Back
  2. GR8- Great
  3. ILY- I Love You
  4. JK- Just Kidding
  5. POV- Point of View
  6. IDK- I Don’t Know
  7. TMI- Too Much Information
  8. TTYL- Talk To You Later
  9. G2G/GTG- Got To Go
  10. THX/TY- Thanks/Thank You
  11. NP- No Problem
  12. BFF- Best Friends Forever
  13. IDC- I Don’t Care
  14. LYLAS- Love You Like A Sister
  15. NVM- Never mind
  16. MYT- Meet You There
  17. NBD- No Big Deal
  18. BAE- Babe/Before Anyone Else
  19. HMU- Hit Me Up
  20. ATM- At The Moment

Now, after reading the following lists, you will be more cautious about what your teen is talking about and to whom they are talking.

Some acronyms deal with risky decisions:

  1. 420- Marijuana
  2. DOC- Drug Of Choice
  3. CICYHW- Can I Copy Your Homework?
  4. TWD- Texting While Driving
  5. WTPA- Where’s The Party At?

And others have sexual connotations:

  1. IWSN- I Want Sex Now
  2. 53X- Sex
  3. MIRL- Meet In Real Life
  4. TDTM- Talk Dirty To Me
  5. 8- Oral Sex
  6. IPN- I’m posting naked
  7. GYPO- Get Your Pants Off
  8. CU46- See You For Sex
  9. GNOC- Get Naked On Camera
  10. NSFW- Not Safe For Work
  11. ASL- (What is your) Age, Sex, Location?
  12. FWB- Friends With Benefits

There are even a number of acronyms regarding parents:

  1. PIR- Parent In Room
  2. 9- Parent Watching
  3. 99- Parenting Gone
  4. POS- Parent Over Shoulder
  5. 303- Mom

These red flags are just a few of many. These acronyms are the top of a very slippery slope that have the possibility to lead to potential harms, including sexting, risky sexual behaviors, stalking, and even rape. If you notice your children or any of their friends using any unusual language, including examples from above, be aware and talk to them about it. Although these conversations may be hard and awkward, they are necessary and they do help to protect and inform children.


Works Cited:

Danielle Jahn


Danielle Jahn is a Communications, Press, and Digital Strategies Intern at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE). She is a senior at The Catholic University of America and plans to graduate in the spring with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in English. Danielle is passionate about advocating for human dignity and is interested in the “hook up culture” among college students and the legality of sexual exploitation.

Further Reading