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I wonder sometimes… did Tigger start it all? Who remembers his famous line, “TTFN, ta ta for now!” expressed in his usual upbeat and enthusiastic way? If you have a teen who texts, you know that we’ve moved way past “TTFN” and into a whole new language. A language comprised of short 3-4 character non-words, where nothing is ever spelled correctly and where those fluent in the language really could not care less.
I remember beingout to dinner with my family one night. My daughter had just received her first phone capable of texting. She was being silly and texting things to her Dad to help pass the time waiting for our dinner to arrive.She sent him “ILY”.Seconds after the beep was heard from his phone notifying him that he received a text, he said, “what does illy mean?” He had no idea it was an abbreviation for “I Love You.”Being the jokester that he is, he then spent the rest of the time at dinner texting our daughter all kinds of made up texting lingo.“YATBDINW”… “you are the best daughter in the world”.“PPTS”.. “please pass the salt.” "IAH" ... "I am hungry"... My daughter and I just giggled the whole night trying to explain to him that you can’t just “make up” your own texting lingo.He didn’t get it and just looked at us bemused most of the night.
Do you ever feel like my husband did that night?Confused at how this whole new texting language works? Who decides which abbreviations make it into the lingo? (that question I can not answer for you in this article, I admit to being confused by that one as well )… Why do they even need to abbreviate everything in the first place? (short answer, they are lazy *wink*).
I admit to reading my daughters texts.She knows I do this, it’s part of the deal that we have letting her have a texting cell phone.Sometimes I’ll scroll though the messages and have no idea what she is talking about.Even worse sometimes when she texts me I have no idea what she is talking about either!
So just how do you decode all of that lingo? Are you as adult's capable of learning the language? Can you teach an old dog new tricks? (ooh, does that statement make me old??)
Here are a few tips that I’ve found have helped me out:
1) Just ask. Sometimes as parents I think that we are too worried about a finding a creative solution to the problem that we overlook the obvious one. If you see an abbreviation in a text and don’t know what it means, just ask them. Hopefully you will get a straight answer. If not you can try #2.
2) Do an internet search. Just plug the phrase into your favorite search engine and see what pops up.
3) Pay attention. In my opinion if you’ve got a kid who texts, you’ve got to stay on top of what’s going on. It’s a whole other world and it’s right in front of our eyes. If we’re not paying attention to it, we are going to miss something. In our family we have not run across any of the more “sensational” texting abbreviations. But I know they are out there. There are abbreviations for “parent in the room” and “can’t talk now” among other ones that are not even close to being “G” rated. Pay attention.
4) Sit down and talk about it. To help me with this article, my daughter and I sat down and she gave me a list of the abbreviations she uses the most. It made for a nice little discussion. Aside from the laughing at how “clueless” her mother is, I think she enjoyed feeling like I was interested in the things that were going on in her life. She was more than happy to help.
5) Here’s a little list to help you out. A little tip if you see a number, say the number out loud.. for example gr8, is great… get it grrr-eight? (Oh Tigger would have loved that one!)
Btw- by the way
Lol- Laughing out loud
Bff- Best friend forever
Txt - Text
Brb- Be right back
Gtg- Got to go
Ttyl- Talk to you later
Myob- Mind your own business
Ily- I love you
Gf – Girlfriend
Cya- See ya
6) Nothing is going to be spelled correctly. Get over it.It’s horrible, I fear for our society over it, but I doubt it is going to change. When you’re typing constantly and quickly you’re not paying attention to spelling.
I used to be super conflicted about the whole texting issue.Until one evening I was listening to someone talk and they said something to the effect, “Remember when we were kids and we would stay up all hours talking on the phone endlessly? Do you remember falling asleep talking to your best friend on the phone? Well this is this generations version of that.They don’t stay up all hours talking on the phone, they text”.The more I thought of it the more I became a bit more ok with the whole idea. I mean at least with texting you’ve got a written down version of the conversation. No one kept a record of all those late night calls when I was a teenager…. And thank goodness for that!
My last tip is to have some fun with it! Text your teen. Be silly, ask them to bring you a drink of water when they are sitting in the other room.Send them “ily” ‘s throughout the day.Make it a positive thing for you and your teen….and if you want to tease and confuse them a bit, start making up your own texting lingo like my husband did… Send it to them then smile.
So... Do you consider yourself fluent in the language of texting? or even better... Do you think that this new lingo language is going to have some long term effect on our kids? Is it damaging their language and writing skills? Will we in 20 years be saying I.L.Y. to our kids instead of "I Love You?" remember... each comment left on this post benefits DoSomething.org with a $0.50 donation!! Leave a comment and join in the discussion!