Thursday, November 22, 2007
Decoding Text Messaging
An Action News Special Report
By Lisa Thomas-Laury
November 16, 2007 - Do you know what B-R-B means? It's text code for Be Right Back. It might come as no surprise that parents tell us it's difficult to penetrate the high-tech lives of teens. We cracked some of those text messages codes so parents are no longer left K-P-C.
"I say NVM for never mind if I changed or if I don't want to talk to them," said one teenager who spoke with Action News.
"ROFL...rolling on the floor laughing," explained another teen.
Parents, trying to figure out what a teen is texting, may end up feeling like their trying to decipher Morse code.
"I text during class, before school, in between classes, after school, before I go to bed and when I wake up," said 17-year-old Samantha Scott.
Scott said she uses lots shorthand in all that texting. What's more, her mother isn't aware of all the codes.
"I wouldn't know how to look for her text messages if I tried," said Samantha's mother, Dominque Bond.
"Learn how to text message and also how to respond to messages," said therapist Tim Barksdale.
Barksdale suggested if parents want to bridge the gap between themselves and their teens, then they have to familiarize themselves with the technology their children already mastered. Parents should also learn their children's texting codes.
Some of the most popular include: MOS. for mom over shoulder, and CD9, which is code 9 for unwanted parent or teacher.
Action News also found innocent abbreviations like LOL, for laughing out loud, and SLAP, which means sounds like a plan.
But, we also found others that would be alarming to parents.
"Like the number 420, which means let's get high or do you have any weed?" said Dr. Barksdale.
"And I'm curious if she knows that and now I'm going to ask her about that," said Samantha's mom.
So, we asked Samantha if she knew the code.
"No. I know at least at my school we don't really use codes like that," she said.
But lots of teens do use codes like that and also codes like A3. That's a code for any place, anywhere, anytime -- a reference to getting together to use drugs.
Although hesitant, Samantha did tell us the letters of a code used by some of her classmates that she thought might disturb adults. However, she would not reveal to Action News what it meant.
"LMAO, because it involves a cuss word," said Samantha.
We were able to decipher the code LMAO and determine the letters stand for laughing my **** off. There are many other codes for cursing phrases. Barksdale also said there are codes that have dual meanings. One is innocent the other is potentially dangerous.
"If you see PABG, that means "packing a big gun," said Barksdale. "So that could be a threat of a weapon or it could be something as innocent as playing a video game."
The best advice is to monitor your child's computer and cell phone use. Restrict it, but also become familiar with it.
"Embrace the technology, don't be scared of it," added Dr. Barksdale.
BTW (by the way) the code KPC meant Keep Parents Clueless.
(Produced by Cheryl Mettendorf)
(Copyright 2007 by Action News and 6abc. All Rights Reserved.)