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Teen text messages decoded, cellphone app habits unveiled

March 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
While most parents say they actively monitor their kids' online activities, it's still a fact that most teens are more tech savvy than their parents.

A group of moms and their teenagers took a technology test. They were asked about some new apps that allow kids to call, text and send pictures for free, and they were also quizzed on the latest texting shorthand. Perhaps not surprisingly, some parents didn't score too well.

Carol Coleman was surprised to learn "LMIRL" means "Let's meet in real life." Michelle Burgess figured out "GYPO" means "Get your pants off."

The experts at SmartParents, a service that allows parents to monitor their children online, says it's so important to know what kids are saying on their high-tech devices.

"There's been kind of an arms race between parents and technology and parents are losing," said Gerry Polucci, CEO of SmartParents.

There are new apps out there that allow teens to call and text for free without a data plan. There are also apps that allow people to text pictures that disappear from the receiver's phone in seconds.

According to 28 percent of teens, they have sexted naked photos of themselves. What they don't realize is that those pictures aren't always gone for good.

"The receiving person can take a screen shot of that on their iPhone," said Polucci.

The very latest chat terms are anything but innocent. Few of the parents who took the test knew that GNRN means "Get naked right now," and that IMEZRU means "I'm easy are you?"

Teens use shorthand to KPC, or keep parents clueless, but they're not alone.

"Sexual predators use these acronyms for much the same reason," said Tim Woda.

Woda says an online sexual predator used teen chat abbreviations like "AL," or "Age and location," to target his 14-year-old son.

"I was terrified," Woda said.

He told police, and the man chatting with his son was arrested.

"This particular predator had over 250,000 lines of sentences in code written in his computer where he was targeting and grooming children," Woda said.

Experts say don't just look at your kid's browsing history, you should also monitor the apps they download and stay on top of the latest tech lingo.


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