Why is it important that I know certain IM acronyms?
Well, the Internet, for all its wonders, is becoming an increasingly dangerous place. Kids spend a huge amount of time there. Kids talk to kids, their friends, complete strangers, sometimes for hours and hours everyday. The fact is, that these kids don’t always know who their talking to. They may think they’re talking to another sixteen-year-old with an addiction to NFL football, but he could in fact be a forty-year-old with an addiction to something else entirely. A parent can never be too careful when it comes to monitoring their child’s activity on the Internet. Too many parents have trusted that the fact that the computer their child is using is safe within the four walls of their home means no danger to the child and no danger to the parent, but this is a dangerously naive attitude.
What are some of the dangers of chat rooms?
The chief danger of chat rooms is that everyone’s more or less anonymous. Someone may claim to be a fourteen-year-old butterfly collector, but in reality he’s more than twice that age and is only interested in talking to other fourteen-year-olds for sexual purposes. There’s really no way to completely control what goes on in chat rooms. Add to this the fact that two people in a chat room can at any time open up a private dialogue box for a private conversation, and you have a really potentially dangerous situation on your hands. Finally, the fact that Instant Messaging crowds rely on a series of acronyms to speak quickly, meaningfully, and safely means that they’re safe from prying outside eyes.
What are some IM acronyms that I should be familiar with?
Well, let’s look at a few, knowing that you can go on the Internet later and find many sites devoted to teaching parents every IM acronym that they should be aware of.
F2F — this acronym stands for Face To Face. This could very well mean that your child is planning a face to face meeting with whomever he or she is chatting with on the other end. Recent television programs have shown that predators seeking the sexual favors of underage children are on the rise. You should always know exactly with whom it is that your child is planning to meet face to face, where they plan to meet them, and why.
FUD — This acronym stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. These three emotions are of course not at all uncommon to young people these days, but perhaps knowing that your child is experiencing them will help you to gain insights into what’s going on in their world.
OM — this acronym stands for the Old Man, which could simply refer to a child’s father or warn the chatter at the other end that the child’s father is currently in the room, and so to keep off of controversial subjects.
OL — this acronym stands for the Old Lady, and has the same meaning(s) as above.
P911 — this acronym stands for My parents are in the room. Notice the 911, which means something like “let’s talk about a more parent-friendly subject” or “try not to use obscene language so [expletive] much.”
D/L, DL, d/l — this acronym stands for Downloading, or Downloading it. With the uprising of pornographic content on the net, and especially pornographic content of a voyeuristic kind, a parent will want to know what exactly a child is downloading. Chat rooms are filled with potentially dangerous strangers, each one of whom could be attempting anything.
DIKU — this acronym stands for Do I Know You? Of course, this particular acronym could be harmless, but it’s always proper for a parent to know potential strangers seeking to get to know their children online.
POS — this stands for Parents Over Shoulder.
Make sure, of course, that your children don’t feel as though you’re sneaking around behind their backs. Talk with them openly, express your concerns. Chances are that your children are feeling some of the same concerns themselves, and that you and they can work out a safety plan together.