Here's What Your Kids' Sneaky Text Codes Really Mean, And Which Ones Should Worry You
Katie Mooney 5/26/2017
Many of us grew up passing handwritten notes in class, calling each other on our parents' landlines, and scanning the pages of our family encyclopedia set to research for school projects.
Our teenage telephone conversations were forced to remain fairly innocent, as the ever-so-short coiled phone cord kept us in the kitchen - arms distance from our parents.
We had much less contact with the world around us. We interacted with the majority of our classmates only during school hours, we sent letters in the mail, and when we were home - we were home. We weren't in chat rooms, on social media, or posting our best selfies on the internet.
Times were simpler then. But my oh my, how times have changed...
It's time we get serious about today's world and ask ourselves, do we really know what our kids are up to?
Technology certainly has its countless advantages, and opens up a world bigger than we ever could have imagined. But, the reality is, there are two sides to every coin. For example, cell phones may come with a laundry list of benefits, but sadly, they also come with great dangers as well. Especially for parents.
Texting is today's "normal" form of communication. We can hold multiple conversations at once, we can do so privately, and we don't have to stop whatever else we are doing to "chat" with others (texting doesn't involve a coiled and constricting cord).
Many people who text use abbreviations to get their message across more quickly: LOL (laugh out loud), JK (just kidding), GR8 (great), TYVM (thank you very much), etc. These acronyms are simple, harmless, and common.
However, there are text initials being used today, especially by the younger generation, which are code for drugs, sex, bullying, and even suicide.
The following are a handful of today's text codes which parents should be aware of:
MOS (mom over shoulder)
POS (parent over shoulder)
PAL (parents are listening)
CD9 (code 9, parents around)
P911 (parent alert)
Then, there are even more concerning and potentially dangerous message codes:
1174 (meet at a party spot)
TWD (texting while driving)
LMIRL (let's meet in real life)
99 (parents are gone)
And, as if those "secretive" acronyms aren't terrifying enough, there are codes which reference sex and sexual behavior:
CU46 (see you for sex)
IWSN (I want sex now)
WTTP (Want to trade photos?)
GYPO (get your pants off)
53X (secretive way to write sex)
GNOC (get naked on camera)
And perhaps, the most severe and possibly deadly codes of all - KYS and KMS.
KYS stands for "kill yourself" and KMS stands for "kill myself." Of course our children sometimes speak in a tongue and cheek fashion, as we also do as adults. Perhaps your daughter tripped in front of a cute boy at school - she may text her friend, "OMG, just tripped in front of Billy! KMS" In this manner, the girl's use of KMS is obviously playful.
But sadly, teen suicide is no joking matter, as there are thousands of teens who attempt every single day.
All too often, children are sent messages of "KYS" from fellow classmates - which are sent for the purpose of bullying. Or, a teen may alert his or her peers of possible suicidal actions by sending a "I am going to KMS" text. It's imperative that we keep our eyes open, stay connected, and take these "secretive" codes seriously.
As parents, it isn't possible to be too involved or worry too much. It's what we do.
Of course we can't protect our children from everything, but it's certainly our job to try. With today's dangers of online child predators, texting and driving, cyber bullying, and easy access to age inappropriate media - more than ever, it's critical to be vigilant.
Let's pay close attention to the fine print and work together to keep our children safe.
Sources: USA Today, The Parent Resource Program