Cracking The Code on Internet Slang

From the Editors of Education.com
From the Editors of Education.com

CD9. NIFOC. PRW. Cracking the Code on Teen Netspeak

By: Ryan Jones, Education.com Editor

Stfu lol pos bbiab td2m l8r k thx bi. Understand that sentence? If you’ve got a teenager at home, you should know how to understand it – they do! It’s called Internet slang, or “netspeak,” and it’s quickly becoming part of your teenager’s everyday routine. Even most text messages are written in what could be considered an entirely different language.

Many parents are shocked when they find out just exactly what their kids are chatting about on the web. Whether they’re trying to disguise their actions or merely attempting to save a few keystrokes, today’s teens are increasing their use of Internet slang leaving many parents “ITD” (in the dark). The easiest way to stay “ITK” (in the know) about what your kids are doing online is to learn their language. Internet lingo isn’t too hard to understand, once you get the hang of it. The simplest form involves replacing words with similar sounding characters. For example: too becomes 2, are becomes R, see becomes C, and words ending in -ate (like translate) are shortened to transl8.

Another type of netspeak involves acronyms and abbreviations. An acronym is formed by taking the first letter of multiple words to form a new word. An abbreviation is made by removing letters from words. Most kids use Internet slang to save keystrokes and sound cool, but there are a few key words that every parent should be on the lookout for. Here’s a list of some common warning signs that all parents should learn to recognize:

ASL Age / Sex / Location
BF/GF boyfriend / girlfriend
CD9 code 9, short for parent nearby
GNOC get naked on cam
LMIRL let’s meet in real life
P911 parents watching
PAW or PRW parents are watching
PIR parents in room
POS parents over shoulder
TDTM talk dirty to me

But not all teens use Internet slang for naughty purposes. The most common terms are just ways of shortening common sayings. Here are some common terms:

LOL laugh(ing) out loud
BRB be right back
IDK I don’t know
NM not much or never mind
GTG got to go
WTF what the f*ck
ROFL rolling on the floor laughing
STFU shut the f*ck up
OMG oh my God
AFK away from keyboard
TTYL talk to you later
BFF best friend forever
LMAO laughing my a** off
BTW by the way

Some parents think net slang is hurting teens academically. Teachers complain about lingo like “LOL” showing up on written reports. They’re also troubled by the fact that more and more students don’t know the difference between words like “its” and “it’s,” or “you’re” and “your.” Writing just isn’t the same as it was 20, or even 10 years ago. On the other hand, teens are using language on a constant basis–whipping off emails and communicating in the written form with tremendous regularity. And one thing’s for sure: while Internet slang may or may not be affecting their grammar skills, it is encouraging our kids to be more cre8ive.

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