Your teenagers may be using a secret language with other teens — and strangers.
It’s full of acronyms and pictures that have coded meanings — many of them sexual — and many parents are discovering they are outmatched trying to stop it.
Like most parents, Diane Albis keeps a close eye on her daughter’s cell phone activity.
“We’re very close—I think—so I do check her phone quite often,” Albis told Boston 25 News.
But Albis and other parents couldn’t figure out what many of the acronyms such as 53X, GNOC and WTTP meant.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 15 percent of adolescents have sent sexts, 27 percent had received them and 12 percent had forwarded a sext without consent.
“A lot of parents don’t know their kids have fake Instagrams or multiple SnapChat accounts they use,” says Stacy Pendarvis, the program director of the Monique Burr Foundation for Children.
Pendarvis says one-third of teens consider the internet as important as food, water and shelter.
“Kids are way more savvy than we are with technology. When we figure it out they change the game on us,” Pendarvis said.
But Pendarvis says you can level the playing field with apps like Bark.
Bark lets you monitor your child’s texts, emails, social media posts and private messages. Pendarvis advises to sit down with your child and tell them why this isn’t an attack on their privacy.
As for those acronyms:
GNOC: Get Naked On Camera
WTTP: Want To Trade Pictures
Teenage sexting is illegal in Florida. While the first offense is a non-criminal violation, a subsequent offense could result in felony charges. Teens could go to prison and be forced to register as a sex offender.
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In Massachusetts, text messages with sexually explicit material involving a child under 18 can be prosecuted under child pornography laws, even if the person who sent it is a minor.
It’s a felony and could require you to register as a sex offender if convicted.
You can find more sexting terms that your teenager may be using here.