RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Do you know what your child is saying when he or she sends a text message? Chances are they are using a language that could get your head spinning.
What if you found this message on your child's cell phone: POS! TTYL, Maybe I'll GNOC, C-YA!
It could be completely innocent, or it could mean they are on the verge of serious trouble.
The list of text message abbreviations gets longer, by the day. But while some are innocent, many are anything but and designed with the express purpose of keeping parents and adults out of the loop.
Text message technology is becoming easier and more accessible to kids of all ages, forcing parents like Sara Heifetz whose son isn't old enough to have a phone, to plan ahead.
"I'm absolutely terrified about how to parent in the digital age, it is so different from when I grew up and the biggest concern was taking candy from a stranger," Sara said.
And indeed, bad people hoping to take advantage of your child are employing these new technologies at a rapid rate. Meaning if parents hope to keep their kids safe, they too need to do the best they can to stay up to date.
"If you have kids and they are texting, you need to stay on top of what they are doing," said Horace Allen Jr.
Horace Allen Jr. thinks parents need to learn to text themselves. Even if they don't learn every abbreviation, understanding how the communications tool works is half of the battle. He forced himself to learn to text and he keeps in contact with his kids the same way they keep in contact with their friends.
"It's kind of good to learn that, it is like a new Morse code," said Horace.
But to a certain degree, parents need to instill values in their children that will transcend the temptations of inappropriate text messages.
"As a parent I think you just have to prepare your kids enough so that even if they make decisions that you rather they not make, that they do so responsibly," said Sara.
It is a tough, but important lesson that still works. Even in the digital age.
Which brings us back to the initial text message we shared at the beginning of the story, written out, it says "Parent over shoulder", "talk to you later". Maybe I'll "get naked on camera", see ya!.
Not something you'd want to see on your teenager's phone.