Do you know your share of Text Lingo?
Everyone in modern society should be thankful for the arrival of the digital revolution, because it has made our lives so convenient. For instance, people can now send messages to each other and get replies in a matter of seconds as opposed to days or even weeks. In fact, some young people would rather text than talk on the phone, because it’s a new form of technology. However, it’s important for parents to be familiar with texting, because their children may be sending inappropriate messages to their friends and especially to people who they don’t like. Finding out what the children are texting isn’t as easy as simply reading the messages. There’s a virtual language with which most younger people are familiar and their parents are not.
Understanding Text Lingo
The acronomical jargon being employed by children when they text is difficult to understand because some words are not what they appear. For instance, most people use the letter “U” instead of the word “you” when they text. However, the abbreviation “WYD” means what you doing (what are you doing)? The “Y” represents the word you in this instance. The origin of these acronyms is directly related to the text messages themselves. The technical term for a text message is Short Message Service, and they can only be 140 characters in length. Most major cell phone plans used to have a limit on the number of texts the user could send in a single month. In order to cram entire messages into a single text, people basically invented a new language.
Common Texting Lingo
Most of the acronyms expressed during text messages are rather innocent. For instance the text lingo SMH simply means “shaking my head.” It’s a reply to something funny or ridiculous. However, the acronym SMDH means “shaking my damn head” and it typically refers to something frustrating or infuriating. Other common texts include “411” which means information. The text may read like “what’s the 411” which is simply a request for more details about a particular subject. However, the term “511” means too much information, and it’s usually the reply to something perverted.
Nearly everyone is familiar with the term LOL which means “Laugh out loud”. This is the most common rely to a joke or a humorous situation. However, LMAO stands for “laugh my ass off” and it expresses a note of hilarity beyond LOL. It can even be expressed as LMFAO with the “F” expressing an expletive. Even though the term contains the F-bomb, it’s still expressed as a rather innocent term. It refers to laughing hysterically instead of chuckling lightly. However, there are some abbreviations that are far more sinister in nature.
One of the more sinister text messages one person can send to another is “4Q”. It seems innocent enough until you say it lout loud. If it sounds like the most offensive thing that a person can say to another in English, that’s because it stands for “bleep” you. You may also see a child send 4Q2 which returns the sentiment to the recipient. Another text message of which parents need to be aware is “187”. This is the California penal code for a homicide, but it has been popularized the world over by the 1992 Dr. Dre rap album The Chronic.
The term was used repeatedly in the album to insinuate that someone would be or had been murdered. The term was further popularized by the movie 187 which starred Samuel L. Jackson. Most children are only letting off steam when they send these types of texts, but the message “187 2nght” means murder tonight. It’s better to be safe than sorry, because teenagers are impulsive and irrational — especially when they’re angry. The “187” acronym is especially dubious, and it may be the worst that someone can send or receive. However, there are a number of other texts which can imply something negative.
Is it 420
It may seem like someone sending this message is simply inquiring about the time, but 420 has nothing to do with the time. The term actually existed before the days of sending text messages, as it originated in the 1960’s. Students at USC and UCLA would often times meet up between classes to smoke marijuana. For some reason or another, the meeting time would always be around 4:20 P.M. so the term 420 went on to symbolize the use of marijuana. Some children are so bold that they’ll even use the term 420 in their conversation even though the parents are present. Marijuana is the illegal substance most commonly used by teenagers, and finding text messages with the term could mean your child is experimenting with the gateway drug. Anyone who thinks a little weed smoking is harmless should definitely think again.
In England, the rate of teens smoking marijuana has nearly doubled from 5% in 2008 to 9% in 2014. The number of teens smoking this illegal substance has also increased in the US and Canada. Teens who smoke pot are more likely to drop out of high school, have a child before graduation and make lower grades. They’re also far more likely to graduate to hard drugs like cocaine, crack and heroine. Another text with which parents should concern themselves is the code “99”. It literally means parent is no longer watching, ad it can mean the teen is planning to do something — or is discussing something — of which the parent would disapprove.
This usually proceeds the text “AITR”. This means adult in the room, and it’s usually used when a child is texting within the visual range of a parent or other authority figure. They’re not foolish enough to send text messages they shouldn’t while mom and dad are close enough to read the screen. However, parents who are familiar with the lingo will know that the child was planning to text something inppropriate. This is especially true if the child receives or sends “53X” which means sex. This seemingly innocent message is a dead giveaway that the child is involved with sexting.
What is Sexting
Nearly everyone has had an engaging conversation with someone that became sexual in nature. Phone sex is the act of discussing sexual matters over the phone. On the other hand, sexting is sending texts of a sexual nature, and it can be more engaging than just having a conversation. Reading words can stimulate the brain more than just hearing them can. Sexting can also consist of sending pictures of the genitals or a young lady’s bare breasts. Unfortunately, these pictures are permanent, and a lot of young women have had their entire lives ruined by a moment’s mistake.
This is exactly what happened to bullied teen Amanda Todd who sent a picture of her bare breasts to a stranger online. The perverted recipient went on to create an entire Facebook page, using Todd’s breasts as his avatar. This one regretful mistake lead to the young girl being completely ostracized by everyone around her. Her classmates would tease her, because every boy in her school had seen her topless. Her parents chose to transfer her to a different school, but they couldn’t get the picture back. It didn’t take long before the topless picture followed Todd to her new school and the cycle began all over again. Eventually, Amanda Todd committed suicide, but not before posting a very emotional YouTube video.
Texting can be an innocent and fun way for young people to keep in touch with each other. However, there are a lot of different messages teens can send back and forth which are anything but innocent. Like all things, a teen’s cell phone use should be moderated. They may hate their parents today, but they’ll definitely thank them in the future.