I often find myself lost in text translation.
My oldest son, Jacob, is a mature, confident, and savvy 12 year old. Too smart for his own good, he can be infuriatingly manipulative. As a sixth grader, he walks to and from middle school through our suburban downtown, so we gave him a cell phone to promote safety and communication.
Jacob, however, believes the only purpose of the cell phone is to text his friends. When I communicate with him, I almost always call, so I can hear his voice and take care of our business efficiently. Like many pre-teens, he prefers to text me in phrases I often don’t understand, which makes me feel old. While a phone call would allow for context, he will come up with 62 reasons why texting 4 abbreviated words is the best way to ask me if he can avoid homework and go to the park after school.
I don’t enjoy our texting relationship because it somehow allows him to forgo manners and respect for sassy slang. When I was forced to text him recently about why he hadn’t answered his phone or texted me for 30 minutes after school, his typed response was ”Chillax dude. lol… be home in a few.”
Now is that any way to talk to your mother?!
Text-speak for the kids is quite literally another language, one of which I have only remedial knowledge. I asked Jacob to translate some of the more amusing phrases he uses to speak to his friends:
1. WTF and/or OMFG—I think you can guess the meaning here. (According to Jacob, since only the “F” initial is being used, it isn’t technically swearing.)
2. NMJC—Not much just chillin’. (The natural answer to “what r u doing?”)
3. JW – Just wondering (A likely response to the stock question, “why did u ask if I like her/him?”)
4. TTYL—Talk To You Later (Should really be “text you later”—good old-fashioned conversation is lost on these kids.)
5. BRA— Friend (As in brother, bro, brey….not lady’s lingerie.)
6. IKR—I know, right? (A common response to “My mom’s so annoying…”)
7. PITR – Parent in the Room (The horror!!)
Did I clear some things up for you? Please share any texting tales you have about your preteens and teens… and more texting translations are always welcome!