The Internet, text messaging, and so forth, have become popular ways for young people to communicate with each other these days. It’s really quite a phenomenon. Young people can talk virtually anytime to their friends, either via the Internet or their cell phone. Not only that, young people can talk virtually anytime to all sorts of people who are not their friendsâ€”who may, in fact, pose a real danger to them. Therefore, it’s important that concerned parents learn the technology that their children are using to communicate. Part of learning that technology is learning the IM (instant messaging) acronyms that serve young people (and older people) as a sort of shorthand for getting a complicated message across instantly.
Let’s look at a few of the IM acronyms that all parents should know. These acronyms should help parents gain a better awareness of the sort of conversations their children are having, and also the sort of people that they’re having them with.
Remember, these acronyms can appear in emails, chat rooms, text messages, etc.
1.a/s/l or asl — this acronym stands for age/sex/location. It’s a way, of course, to get personal information from a chatter you aren’t acquainted with. That parents would want to be familiar with this particular acronym seems obvious. If a person is asking your son or daughter for their age, sex, and location, they’re asking for pretty intimate details, and, if it turns out that this particular person’s intentions are predatory, dangerous details.
2.AV — this acronym stands for Avatar, which means: a graphical representation of the person chatting. Usually, Avatars are cartoony things designed by the user to best fit their look or personality, or to best fit the look or personality that they’d like to have. But sometimes people will use their real pictures, and sometimes these pictures can be revealing in an inappropriate way.
3.UDIK — 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.
4.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 self-exposing kind, a parent will want to know what exactly a child is downloading. Chat rooms are filled with mysterious strangers, each one of whom could be peddling anything.
5.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 who it is that your child is planning to meet face to face.
6.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 recent behavior problems etc.
7.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.
8.OL — this acronym stands for the Old Lady, and has the same meaning(s) as above.
9.P911 — this acronym stands for My parents are in the room. Notice the 911, which means something like “let’s talk about a cleaner subject” or “try not to use obscene language.”