OMG Look What Some Teens are Texting

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Sex, drugs and alcohol are hot topics for some teenagers. So hot, they’ve got a special shorthand text language that leaves adults clueless. Check this out:

  • IWS   =  I want sex
  • Cu46  =  See you for sex
  • a-boot   =  Under the influence of drugs
  • WTG 4 a \%/    =  Want to go for a drink?
  • No 420? Wiyp?  =   No weed? What is your problem?

There are literally thousands of made up words and pictographs at noslang.com, a text slang dictionary.  CNN profiles Ryan Jones, a computer programmer who created noslang and is an expert in teen texting language. Some other resources include Teen Chat Decoder, NetSmartz411, and the Idaho Internet Lingo Dictionary.

Teens use shorthand terms in texts mainly because it allows them to say a lot on the small screen.  And most texts are about mundane topics such as school or dating.  But some parents are buying cell phones with parental controls that alert them when kids are texting about illegal activities. And it looks like the lingo is evolving as fast as a teenager’s thumbs on a qwerty keyboard.

Thanks to Benjamin Chambers at Reclaiming Futures Every Day for the heads up.

Photo courtesy Lorianne DiSabato

2 thoughts on “OMG Look What Some Teens are Texting

  1. While news agencies love to publish about this topic, I am not sure that this is an entirely new phenomenon. The rare deviants (be they teenage or adults) who partake regularly in illegal drugs or other illegal activities have always created new names for the drug or activity in order to hide it from others, namely, the police.

    For example, marijuana can be called anything from a joint or maryjane to bush or tea.

    So what we are seeing here, is that teenagers (and I would argue it is more than just teenagers…in fact I would argue it is primarily adults) have just created alternative language, via technology, to discuss illegal activities.

    What is particularly unfortunate about the publication of articles like these is that it has the tendency to unintentionally instill fear into parents who then breach the privacy and mutual respect that should exist in a healthy parent/child relationship. And when we don’t give teenagers a voice in these discussions about what they do or don’t do with their phones, that creates an enviornment in which parents are able to be partially informed, fearful and act on that fear.