Science & Technology

Decoding teen text messages

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Teenagers even have their own slang to alert friends that their parents may be watching.

P-911 means parent alert and MOS means mom over shoulder.

Texts may read like a foreign language, but now there's a place online where you can go for a translation.

"I have nothing to hide. Some of my friends, on the other hand, I don't think they would like this idea very much," Fendi Munoz said.

Munoz, 17, is showing her mother, Claudia, how to decipher texts online.

A new website, lgdtxtr.com, lets you type in a text to learn what it means in plain English.

LG designed the site with parents in mind. The company's survey showed almost half were reading their teenagers' text messages without their consent.

"If you're paying for the phone and they live at home, you should be checking their texts," Claudia Molano said.

Clearly, parents need the help.

Peter Galman, 63, says his teenage daughter stumps him all the time with phrases like 'l-o-l.' "Laughing or living? Living la vida loca?" Galman asked.

That's laughing out loud.

TTYL means 'talk to you later.' Tech experts wonder if putting a text dictionary online will encourage teens to invent new, more obscure slang.

"When a big cell phone company figures it out and puts it on the web, it makes it less cool," Carolina McCarthy of C-Net said.

One recent study shows teens are sending on average eighty texts a day. Teens used to keep diaries or whisper on the phone when they had a secret. Now, they'll text in what looks like jibberish.

"This would let you know what's going on with your kids," Molano said.

The site offers definitions for more than one thousand text terms, but it also allows you to add your own.

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ON THE NET:

http://www.lgdtxtr.com/


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