Sometimes it feels like parents and teens don’t speak the same language. When it comes to texting, chatting and emailing, that's literally true. If you've looked at any teen's communications, you'll see them sprinkled with acronyms and shorthand that make no sense.
Those letters and numbers are an ever-evolving code that kids pick up from their friends. Some acronyms really are harmless, like the now-common LOL. But there are plenty that aren't. If you see the following acronyms on your kids' gadgets, it's time for a serious talk.
A quick note on LOL: While most people use this as "laugh out loud," there are people who use it as "lots of love." This can lead to unfortunate cases where you end up "laughing" at someone's tragic news.
Some of these acronym meanings are very direct and a little shocking.
Your kid has something to hide
CD9: Short for "Code 9," which means parents are around.
KPC: Keeping Parents Clueless
MOS: Mom Over Shoulder
P911: Parent Alert
PAL: Parents Are Listening
PAW: Parents Are Watching
PIR: Parent In Room
POS: Parent Over Shoulder
Your kid's personal information or safety is at risk
F2F: Face to Face. Asking for a meeting or video chat
LMIRL: Let's Meet In Real Life
MOOS: Member of the Opposite Sex
MOSS: Member of the Same Sex
MORF or RUMORF: Male or Female, or Are Your Male or Female?
RU/18: Are You Over 18?
WUF: Where You From?
WYCM: Will You Call Me?
WYRN: What's Your Real Name?
Your kid shouldn't be involved in this
143, 459 or ILU: I love you
1174: Invited to a wild party
GNOC: Get Naked On Cam
GYPO: Get Your Pants Off
AMEZRU: I Am Easy, Are You?
IWSN: I Want Sex Now
KFY or K4Y: Kiss For You
KOTL: Kiss On The Lips
NIFOC: Nude In Front Of The Computer
RUH: Are You Horny?
TDTM: Talk Dirty To Me
Not every acronym is bad
BRB: Be Right Back
CWYL: Chat With You Later
CYT: See You Tomorrow
IMHO: In My Humble Opinion
IMNSHO: In My Not So Humble Opinion
LMK: Let Me Know
NM: Never Mind
ROTFL: Rolling On The Floor Laughing
SOHF: Sense Of Humor Failure
If you're curious about another acronym that you've stumbled across in your kids' texts or chat, look it up on NetLingo. It has a continually updating list of online acronyms, along with their various meanings and origins.
As any parent will tell you, dealing with teenagers and preteens is a fine balancing act. You want to give them freedom to explore, but you also need to keep tabs on what they're doing. Click here for 5 dangerous apps you don't know your kid is using.
I recommend friending or following your kids on any sites they use. If they know you're watching, they're less likely to do something they shouldn't. Plus, you can keep an eye to make sure they aren't revealing information they shouldn't or talking to people who aren't safe.
Of course, you never know what sites they might be using that you don't know about. That's where monitoring and tracking apps and software come in handy. You can keep tabs on everything they do online.
Just be sure to communicate with your kids about why certain sites are bad, so they can grow into responsible digital citizens. In fact, you should start before they're teens with my 10 Commandments for Kids Online. It’s a contract between you and your child about the do’s and don’ts of our digital life.
Finally, be sure you're teaching and demonstrating good mobile manners. I've created 10 rules that everyone should follow and even made a poster you can hang at home, work, school or anywhere else people need a gentle digital etiquette reminder.
On the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.