Teens' online codes should be red flag to parents


David MacAnally/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Parents across the nation are looking over their kids' shoulders, trying to crack the code of text messaging.

Texting teens speak their own language. One of the common abbreviations they use - "POS" - means "Parent Over Shoulder." Teens' text alerts should also alert their parents. Professor Michael Hanley at Ball State says the average age of children getting cell phones is nine-and-a-half and one in five teens is trading or seeing sex photos on cell phones.

As for sex-filled text messages, or "sexting," about half the teens using cell phones are seeing those, Hanley says.

"That can get you in as much trouble as visual images," Hanley said.

Eyewitness News spoke with four students who all used cell phones. One student sends about 750 texts a day. They were already aware of the shorthand lingo and the red flag terms, like "ASL" for "age/sex/location," that parents should be aware of.

"There's a code," said one of the female students.

Other acronyms in the code include:

D46 - "Do you want to have sex?"
LG6 - "Let's have sex"
GNOC - "Get naked on camera"
TDTM - "Talk dirty to me"
LMIRL - "Let's meet in real life"

"I see those on Dateline," said senior Sho Rasouli, who doesn't think the codes are always innocent. "They can be very dangerous, actually."

A group of mothers at a baseball game Tuesday, however, didn't recognize the codes on the list.

"Kids as young as elementary school are probably doing this, because I hear fourth graders talking about it," said one of the mothers.

"It's really a matter of parents sitting down and communicating with their children, making them understand one small mistake now can lead to a much larger, long-term impact on their lives," said Professor Hanley.

Companies online offer software to help you monitor your child's cell phone use. Professor Hanley suggests starting with a good conversation.