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Secret Sex-Message Codes Your Teen Is Using -- or Probably Not

Did you know that when your teenager texts "8," he -- or she -- is suggesting oral sex? Or that "FOL" means "fond of leather"?

You don't even want to know what "FMLTWIA" means.

That's according to a new list entitled "Top 50 Text Acronyms Parents Should Know," which is is making its way around the Internet and has caught the eye of some local TV news reporters.

The problem is ... Many people who see the list wind up howling with laughter, since many of the terms are completely unknown to most people, teenaged or otherwise.

"Some of these are absolutely hilarious," writes "FirstCuts," who posted the link to the online aggregator site Digg. "Honestly, it's probably one of the dumbest things I've ever seen in local network news, and that's saying something."

"I swear, I've used the Internet for 13 years, and still insist half of this stuff is either made up or never used," wrote a Digg commenter.

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At least one-cell phone expert agrees.

"I honestly have to say I have never seen most of these terms," says Sascha Segan of PC Magazine. "It looks like a lot of them come from online sex chat rooms, and not just any chat rooms, but sadomasochistic ones."

That explains the, um, very specific terms on the list, such as "NIFOC," or "Nude In Front Of The Computer," and "ILF/MD," which apparently means "I Love Female/Male Dominance."

"I don't know most of this stuff," says Jason Parks, a 21-year-old junior at Arizona State University. "My friends and I just looked at it, and we were cracking up."

The list is actually a couple of years old and comes from NetLingo.com, a Web site devoted to collating and explaining online jargon.

It was originally titled "Top 50 Internet Acronyms Parents Need to Know," and each term listed there clicks through to a page indicating its origin.

"This is stuff that's being used all across the Internet, in instant messaging, in chat rooms, in text messaging," explains Erin Jansen, founder of NetLingo.com.

"There are spikes in the amount of usage for each acronym, and regional variations," she adds. "Something that's being used on the West Coast, for example, won't be in the East, and the South may use terms that aren't common in the Pacific Northwest. And the Midwest is just a hotbed of this sex chat-room stuff."

Jansen's not saying that every teenager is using each acronym, but she insists all of them are things parents should be aware of.

"It's a good overview of what parents ought to be aware of, even if their kids aren't going to these weird chat rooms, because kids pick them up anyway," Jansen explains "It's like when I was young and my friends and I looked up dirty words in the dictionary."

Segan isn't convinced that your middle-school-aged son or daughter will soon be fluent in bondage terminology.

"I'm sure someone has used each of the terms somewhere, sometime," says Segan. "But you're not going to get many teens texting each other that they love female/male dominance."

"I never heard of that one before," chimes in Parks. "Like, when would that come up?"

Some of the terms are accurate, Segan says -- chiefly the ones having to do with the presence of parents in the room, or "parent or mom over shoulder."

"CD9, POS, MOS -- those are real," he says (though Parks had never heard of them). "But a lot of the other stuff is just laughably out of date.

"'ASL' for age/sex/location -- that's been used since I was on chat rooms as a kid," he adds. "'420' has referred to marijuana for decades. And '1337' for 'elite' -- that's old-fashioned geekspeak, and when I mention it to kids these days, they have no idea what I mean."

NetLingo.com does have a longer list of commonly used text terms, which Segan says is more useful.

"That's the one parents should be looking at," he says. "If parents don't know those, it doesn't mean they're old -- it just means they're not tuned into Internet culture."

Jansen, on the other hand, says what she's offering is just the tip of the iceberg.

"There's so many of these terms that I had to make a second list," she says, "Top 50 More Acronyms Every Parent Should Know."

That list consists of terms that are much more familiar, such as "L8R," "BRB," "LOL" and "F2F," which many parents would already know.

In any case, no glossary of text acronyms is going to fully explain what your teens are saying.

"Most kids are going to have terms that only they and their small group of friends understand," says Segan. "A glossary of text terms is not going to do much good when your daughter is using acronyms that she and four friends made up in your basement."