By Zunammie Keren
Effective parenting in today’s society requires us to know about the secret language that our kids are using to communicate online. Decoding Internet slang has become somewhat of an art form and there are now even dictionaries online where you can go to get the meanings for these terms. New ones just seem to keep popping up everyday and parents everywhere need to be educated about this hidden language so that we can know what our kids are saying online.
As a parent I personally struggle with wanting to give my kids enough privacy while simultaneously wanting to know their every move and thought so that I can keep them safe. Whether or not we choose to do something about it, the fact is that our kids are regularly using Internet slang words to communicate with each other. The Internet slang words that kids use today are quite detailed and many terms like ‘PAW (parents are watching) have excluding parents and other authority figures as their main purpose.
Popular Internet Slang
When I was growing up the only 2 words kids were hiding from their parents were the F and the S words but this generation has managed to produce a plethora of creative, colorful and unique terms, many of which I am sure most parents will disapprove of. You may be familiar with very popular terms like ‘LOL (laugh out loud’ or even ‘SMH (shaking my head)’ but how about something like ‘JPNDTS (just push nana down the stairs) or GNOC (get naked on camera)? – are you familiar with these terms? Have you seen them before? Most parents who have not actively been researching to find the meaning of Internet slang words will answer ‘No’ to those questions but these are widely popular in online conversations between kids.
It is all too clear why we need to be aware of these terms and what they really mean. Even when our children are trying to be good there are still other shady characters with undesirable agendas who will try their hardest to endear themselves with children online and they are certainly very familiar with all of these terms. Most normal grown folks simply don’t use these new shortened slang words in our everyday speech the way our kids do and so we have to make the effort to find out the meanings of the things our kids are saying online. For a comprehensive list of some Internet slang words that every parent needs to know you can check out this article from CNN.
What can you as a parent do about Internet slang? I would recommend ‘hanging out’ more with your kids online. Read their profiles, join some of the social media sites where they have accounts, friend them on Facebook. You don’t have to stalk them online and watch their every move (although it can be very tempting). Just interacting with them using the online platforms that they use the most can help you to have a better idea of the way they speak on the Internet and what slangs, if any, they use frequently.
Another thing that you can do is just to talk to your kids and be open to what they might have to say. If they feel comfortable around you then maybe they won’t have to type ‘PAW’ and change their DM (direct message) conversation on IG (Instagram) the next time you walk in the room. If this is how kids are communicating and you want to keep the lines of communication open with your kids, then you will have to learn the Internet slang words they are using and take the time to find out what those slang words mean.
Taken from the May issue of Geek Parenting, out now!