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Parents’ Guide To Texting Codes Used By Teenagers

Parents’ Guide To Texting Codes Used By Teenagers

Like any other mom or dad of a normal teenage son or daughter, you are probably flummoxed or at a total loss when decoding some of the codes used by your kid when he or she is texting. Well, a recent report published by CBS New York sheds some light on the matter, and it turns out some of the messages texted by teens actually have interesting (and even disturbing) meanings.

Indeed, today’s youngsters have definitely come a long way from using the simple and popular LOL (laugh out loud). For instance, abbreviations such as IWS, GYPO, GNOC, and CU46 look harmless at first glance, but they actually mean “I want sex,” “get your pants off,” “get naked on camera,” and “see you for sex.” Even normal looking numerical characters have hidden meanings. For example, when a teenager texts a lone number 9, it actually means “parents are watching.” There are even variations to this -- PIR means “parent in room”, while “POS” is not “point of sale” but “parent over shoulder.”

Another report from the Asian Parent reveals some other codes used by teenagers. A question mark (?) followed immediately by a caret (^) means “hook up.” The numbers “1234” may look like a natural progression of counting, but it actually stands for “I love you,” because it is “1 thing to say 2 you 3 words 4 you.” That one is more playful than disturbing, unlike “>U” which is short for “screw you.” If you see your kid use “/ /” while texting, you have plenty of reason to be afraid. That is short of “slit wrists.” “4Q” is code for the f word. 

Parenting in the digital age often involves making sure one’s kid is sending and receiving age appropriate content when they are sending text messages. Various technological tools now allow mothers and fathers to also get every text their kid sends or receives. There are even firms (like Bark) that take the extra step, employing algorithms kids’ texts in order to recognize indications of bullying, sexting, and suicidal thoughts, and then sends notifications to parents. 

Sure, the teenage years are usually the most rebellious period of any person’s life, and these coded text messages may be their way of sticking it to the man. It is all probably just part of growing up and finding one’s identity. But for parents, it pays to be vigilant even if it turns out to be nothing serious.