05 July 2010

Decoding your teen's digital courage

Recently, Mark Gregston pointed out that one third of teens are known to be sending each other inappropriate photos or comments. Nothing new because we've all heard sext or sexting. But how much do we know about it? What does it look like? Would we know a sext if we saw one?

Now, since just about every kid has a cell phone, its EASY for parents to be oblivious to their kid's secret social life. It used to be, if a girl or boy called the home, parents could at least be filters. Now its more like taxis and ATMs. But what is happening is kids are connecting to the rest of the world with high tech smart.phones. A tool that allows teens and tweens a chance to communicate with strangers like never before, and in ways that were never intended.

Anyone know code?
Whether its text, twitter, flickr or chat, theres a code that makes everything easier to get across. By using numbers or just the first letter of each word, you now have a code. Add a kid to this equation and... yeah, its madness.

Think back for a second... have you noticed the word POS on your kid's phone lately? What about the number 8? POS means Parent Over Shoulder, and the number 8 means oral sex. 1174 means nude club, as in joining one. DUM means, Do You Masturbate? IMEZRU means, I Am Easy, Are You? And LMIRL means, Let's Meet In Real Life.

Theres plenty more, but the good news is you can crack the code. Theres sites you can visit that give a clear understanding of the short hand and slang your kids might use.

Mark, whose the founder and director of Heartlight Ministries, doesn't recommend taking a teen's cell phone away - its just too big a part of a teen's social life, plus it helps you keep track of your kids. Mark says give your kids another tool... one that overrides the others.
"you’d do well to teach your teen discernment, since they can access all the good and the bad in the world from just about anywhere by their cell phone."

Sexting | Mark Gregston | Decoding sext