An official guide to help parents decipher the language used by their children on social media has been launched by the Government.
ParentInfo, a website designed to help older generations better understand the communications of teenagers and children, has been unveiled by the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan.
Terms such as “GNOC” (meaning “get naked on camera”) and “420” (“cannabis”) are often enough to “KPC” – “keep parents clueless’”
Not all the acronyms and abbreviations highlighted by the guide are dangerous – “IRL” simply means “in real life”.
But many indicate sexual content, and the new dictionary may help parents shine a light on youngsters engaging in risky behaviour. There is particular emphasis on safeguarding from paedophiles who mask their true identity behind a computer screen, with “LMIRL” meaning “let’s meet in real life” and “IWSN” translating as “I want sex now”.
The Department for Education (DfE) reports that one in five parents feel “ill equipped” to keep their children safe online. A quarter of girls aged between nine and 16 say they’ve been “bothered” on the internet.
Ms Morgan said: “As a parent myself, I understand how important it is to know your child is safe and that’s why this new, online service is so important. I hope all schools take advantage of this new resource, which addresses fundamental issues like cyber bullying and body confidence – so that they can help protect their children in this digital age.”
The DfE says 550 schools have already registered to use ParentInfo.
Tracey Oakden, a head of department at Matthew Arnold school in Oxford, told The Independent: “The world has become increasingly complex. The rapid growth and usage of social media has significantly changed the pressures and influences on young people in way that adults can’t always easily comprehend.
“I think this site may help parents, as I know that they struggle with where to go to for information and advice.
“Any conversation that happens as a result of the website and prevents a young person sending an image they later regret via social media will mean it has worked.”