Do you know what the text in the photo above means? Do you know what this means: %*@:-( ? Or this: ~~#ZZZZZZ ? If you just answered “no” to those questions, you are definitely not a teenager who uses alcohol or drugs, and are most likely a naive parent. The photo above roughly translates to “I need some narcotics, what about you?”
Six years ago, Ryan Jones, shorthand teen text expert and computer programmer from Allen Park, MI, didn’t know what the above terms meant either. He became an expert back in 2004 when he started studying text slander after receiving some texts at work such as “idk” (I don’t Know) and “lyk” (like). He quickly realized the messages weren’t from his boss — they were from his boss’ children who were at the office for the day and playing around on daddy’s AOL account. They sent silly, innocent instant messages to everyone in the office, but none of the adults could understand the shortcuts and slang. He realized the slang was actually really creative and saved time and keystrokes. Jones created noslang.com in 2005, and as more readers have submitted terms related to drugs and sex, what started out as a fun little lexicon of innocuous shortcuts has become a valuable educational tool for parents to learn about what their children are up to. Jones has now made it his mission to help parents detect when their children are discussing dangerous activities online.
In his online dictionary, there are thousands of slang terms related to drugs and sex (there are 88 drug shortcuts beginning with the letter “a” alone). “A- boot,” for example, means someone is under the influence of drugs, “cu46″ means “see you for sex,” and “gnoc” means “get naked on cam,” meaning a webcam. “Whether you’re a parent, teacher, law enforcement officer or simply a concerned friend — it’s important to stay up to date on the latest drug-related slang terms,” Jones writes on the website. You won’t find every drug- and sex-related term on Jones’ website. While readers have submitted thousands of examples of slang, he refuses to include ones that are just too disgusting. “You should see the things I reject on a daily basis,” he says. “Some of this stuff is pretty vulgar.”
Parents have become extremely thankful for Jones and they constantly write him thank you letters. On the flip side, he occasionally gets hate mail from teens. Of course it’s a good idea to keep a watch on your child’s texts and online communications through Social Network sites. You’ll be in good company if you do. This may seem overbearing, but remember: Looking at what your child says online could keep your child out of a dangerous situation. But of course, it won’t help to read it, if you can’t understand it. If you see terms that are unfamiliar to you, go to one of several translators and dictionaries that help parents decipher the terms that teens use in chat rooms, text messages and instant messaging boards.
“1 n33d 70 m337 up w17h y0u 70n16h7 4f73r my p4r3n75 7h1nk 1 4m 45|33p. c4n y0u m337 m3 47 b0j4n6|3’5 47 m1dn16h7 ju57 f0r 4 f3w m1nu735?”
“I need to meet up with you tonight after my parents think i am asleep. Can you meet me at Bojangle’s at midnight just for a few minutes?”