U Need 2 Know

Thursday, June 16th, 2011
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It’s JADIP, rite? Schls out 4 smr. Kids R gud. No percent/ No :-d~ NP, no worries, everything’s Gr8. OMG. If your kids saw that, they’d LOL or ROTFL.

If you don’t live under a rock, or even if you do and own a cell phone, you know there’s a whole new language out there in the texting universe. But what looks like gibberish, with a little practice, could become a really useful way for families to keep in touch. And keeping in touch, talking with kids, especially in their language, is the best way to help them make good choices about drugs and percent/ (drinking).


Why is texting such a big deal?

Texting is a major way kids communicate with each other. According to Common Sense Media:

* Texting is the #2 use of cell phones — after checking the time.

* Teens send an average of 3,146 texts per month, and kids ages 9 to 12 send 1,146 (Nielsen, 2010).

* 75 percent of 12 to 17 year olds own cell phones and 88 percent of them use text messaging (Pew, 2010).

* 43 percent of teens who take their phones to school say they text in class at least once a day (Pew, 2010).


Texting can also be an effective way for you to talk to your kids, and for them to talk to you. In situations where they may be uncomfortable calling you, they can text “the party is moving to Johnny’s house” or, “Malia is picking me up” for example. Texting also might be an easier way to break the ice on more serious news-about a bad grade, a missed interview or a bigger mistake-that can lead in to a longer conversation later. Basically, if you know how to receive and send text messages, you know one more way to communicate with kids. And that’s a big deal.

Does is work?

According to TimeToTalk.org, texting is an opportunity to talk to your teens on their terms. Surveys show that more than half of teens who text message think it has improved their relationship with their parents, and 51 percent of parents who text with their teens agree that they communicate more often. (Kelton Research)

To see how the Big Island compares, we asked Kealakehe students how they felt about texting with their parents.

“I like it, it’s cool and makes it real convenient to communicate with my parents,” said Christian, a senior. “As long as they don’t overdo it-because then it just bugs me.” Other teens agreed; if a parent is texting too often, they might start being ignored. A good rule of thumb to remember: sometimes “less is more.”

Talking the talk

If you don’t know how to text, take a look at your phone’s help features or manual – or ask your kids to help you! Young people almost seem to be born experts when it comes to technology, and with a little patience, it can be fun to give them the chance to teach you. Before you do anything, check your plan; and if it doesn’t cover unlimited text messaging, you could be in for a big surprise and a big bill.

A free, downloadable “Time to Text” guide is available at www.timetotalk.org

Texting can look like gibberish until you get used to its abbreviations, short slang and acronyms, but it doesn’t take long to learn, and not all of it is new. It might surprise some teens to know that SWAK (Sealed With A Kiss) has been around since 1918, when WWI soldiers in Europe used it to sign love letters. And “2gd2b4g10″ (Too Good To Be Forgotten) is just a variation on the NECCO candy Valentine’s Day “message hearts,” invented during the Civil War. GTI? (Get the idea?)

Gr8. What do I say?

Without overdoing it, here are a few easy questions to get you started:

WAYD. What Are You Doing?

WU or sup. What’s up?

WAYN. Where Are You Now?

RUOK. Are You OK?

They might say:

WYM. What do you mean?

RUS. Are You Serious?

IDK. I don’t know.

Nth. Nothing.

LOL. Laughing Out Loud.

ROTFL. Rolling On The Floor Laughing

JK. Just Kidding

Other niceties:

143. I love you.

TCOY. Take Care of Yourself.

TFTT. Thanks For The Thought.

NP. No Problem.

JADIP. Just Another Day In Paradise

YMMD. You Made My Day.

TTYL. Talk To You Later.

P911 is a “Parent alert.” Here are a few more:

POS. Parent Over Shoulder

PIR. Parent In Room

PAW. Parents Are Watching

PAL. Parents Are Listening

KPC. Keeping Parents Clueless

Emoticons are punctuation marks, put together to make a little cartoon, like using : ) to represent a smile. Some others:


:*( Crying

#-) Wiped out, partied all night

percent*} Inebriated

8-# Death

:-d~ Heavy smoker

There is an entire dictionary of texting lingo available at http://www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php

But is this really talking?

You don’t have to use the lingo. As long as you keep the text simple and short, about 160 characters or less, your message gets through in any language. Remember short conversations have a cumulative effect; they add up to bigger messages, and they can all say that you care, that you’re available and involved in their lives. Just a few examples:

* Let me know how things go 2day

* If U wanna get 2gether and talk l8r, pizza’s on me

* Just wanted 2 say hello. Hope ur having a gr8 day!

* I’m always here if you need to talk

And a final word about texting: Please don’t text and drive! It’s illegal and extremely dangerous. Texting while driving can be as bad an impairment as four drinks. Take a look at the TADD (Teens Against Distracted Driving) pledge at: http://teensagainstdistracteddriving.com/sign-the-pledge/

We hope UL TTTT and KOT (Keep On Talking) 2 ur kids!

The North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition, a project of Five Mountains Hawaii, is a regional volunteer organization committed to developing strong, sustaining relationships for Healthy Communities Choosing to Live Drug Free. For more information, visit www.fivemountains.org/nhdfc.

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