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August 27th, 2010
01:46 PM ET

Teens and texting: What you told us

This week's Empowered Patient column took a look at the lingo some teens may use in chat rooms and instant messages, and how understanding those messages can be an important tool for parents in alcohol and drug abuse prevention. What a response!

Hundreds of commenters weighed in. Many who said they were teenagers found the examples to be “outdated” or “so 1990s,” to say the least.

"I'm 15 and I don't know a single person that types like that," wrote Radarada. "Maybe instead of researching what the 'experts' say kids my age are doing, maybe you should actually get in touch with someone my age," she suggested. Macknowzzz, a 16 year-old, says "I text with all sorts of abbreviations." He says each generation provides its own modernization to language.

Some parents also spoke up, including an anonymous writer who said she had seen these types of texts first-hand from her 19 year-old niece, and that she caught her 15-year old granddaughter sexting with another teenager. Other parents pointed out that even though not all teens are participating in unsafe activities, at least trying to become familiar with how they communicate couldn't hurt. Wabbit says it's important that parents be educated "to the kind of 'speak' that they need to know, to be sure their own children are not getting involved in anything questionable."

Bquiet commented, "I think that texting will add some permanent terms to language, and also create terms that will be in use for only a few weeks. Kids have and always will try to hide things from adults." Daddyo66 eachoed that sentiment: " I am a 44 year old parent of two teenagers…ultimately if they want to be cryptic they will find a way to keep us from knowing what they are saying, but you still have to talk to them and keep up." He says he tries to keep up with what his son is doing, and would rather have his son be upset with him, than to have him go without guidance.

Whether you found the examples to be eye-opening or way off the mark, the important thing to remember is that communicating with your child is one of the best ways to help prevent a drug and alcohol addiction. Even if they aren't using the exact terms that cited in the article – many of which came from actual police investigations into drug, alcohol and sexual abuse – they may be communicating in other ways.

Consider the following responses posted by some teenagers:

Georgebrooks, wrote " I AM a teen who uses alcohol and drugs and I have no idea what any of those texts mean at all."  And Septilidie, a 17-year-old, says, "I drink and smoke and party, but I'm not gonna text like a complete fool." Or even ComeBreakMe who says, "I can think of hundreds of slang words for drugs that aren't on the website."

If you are worried about your child, perhaps this comment from Ocgirl72 speaks to you. "If you think you child is doing something inappropriate you as a PARENT should be having the discussion long before it gets to this point. We teach our children values and morals and we pray they make the right choice when they aren't with us."


soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Chris

    They picked the comment above mine and the one below mine.. But they didnt pick mine!! :(

    August 27, 2010 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. MsV

    Problem is in my area of the country, many parents are txting as much as their teens or got their handy little blue tooth already in their ears talking non stop. I worked at a Valero Gas station and you wouldn't believe how many full grown adults were busy yappin or txting as i was ringing up their items at the register. My gas station was right next to a high school and those adults were using those things more so than the kids. As a general population parents need to re connect with their kids the authentic human way and not thru machines. And its quite pathetic when parents have to use the same little machines (including the computer) just to find out what the general media (nothing more than entertainers) is saying about their kids.

    August 27, 2010 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Alex

    I'm 22, I grew up in the age of texting and I have NEVER seen anyone text like that. My nieces and nephews don't even text like that. They'll show me text messages from their friends that they can't decipher. But ultimately I think parents should keep up with their children. If you say "They don't listen," you're obviously 1. not trying enough or 2. you've given up completely. They're listening, but you can't demand that they act a certain way.

    August 28, 2010 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. iloveanthony

    I just turned 25 and I work at a middle/high school and I have never seen texting like this before. Parents need to make sure they know what their child is up to and teach them morals and values! Let them know your expectations will and won't be accepted! I see many parents that have no control over their kids lives and that's a receipe to disaster!

    August 28, 2010 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Anna

    I don't honestly think there is any one dictionary for teens' shorthand. I am 26 and in my high school days very few kids had cell phones and texting did not exist. However, we still had our own shorthand for things we didn't want our parents to know about and the terms we used were exclusive to our group of friends.

    Even as an adult, I think that parents should just be real with teens. If you treat them like the adults they are capable of being instead of still "kids" then maybe they will respect you more. Nothing you can do will stop them from experimenting with alcohol, drugs, and sexuality. It's even worse when the parents are sitting there drinking and then disappear off to the bedroom to get their jollies...then tell their kids never to drink or have sex because those are awful behaviors. Parents should instead teach teens to be safe about those behaviors...don't drink and drive and use protection. Why are we trying to create this fantasy world where no one indulges their curiosity until society says it's ok to? It's completely counterproductive.

    August 29, 2010 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. rh

    This is kind of silly, why not instead build up a relationship with your child, from birth, so that they will trust you if they start to have any problems? My parents NEVER were concerned where I was or who I was with, and I had to make my own calls on drugs and alcohol. Even as an honors student geek with few friends, a friend of a friend was an 8th grade alcoholic (plus lived in horrendous filthy conditions, in a middle-class neighborhood) a close friend started smoking pot and doing cocaine. At least I did learn to get away from those people, on my own.

    I don't think policing is the answer, especially kids who leave home for their own place or go to college at 18. Yes, your child being a 15 year old slut who does drugs with strangers is a problem, but wasn't there a lot of missed opportunities for trust before then? Keep an eye on your kids, and they'll stay out of trouble.

    August 29, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Austyn

    I read the original article and the texts in that looked fake. I don't know anyone who texts like that. My younger sister is a jr. in high school and she doesn't know anyone who texts like that. I agree with the first teen they quoted that experts don't really know what they're talking about with this. Who did they go to to get those examples?
    I'm 23, but I text daily. Unlike most, I spell out all of my words, but I've still never seen anything like that. Talk to the people actually doing the texting next time...

    August 29, 2010 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Mia

    I Am Fourteen and doing homework on this. i think texting has changed since it has first come out. and that every generation has different words for different meaning so someone else wont understand. texting in a different way is a way to hider something you dont want anyone else knowing about.

    August 29, 2010 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Sherri

    I showed my daughter, who is 15, the paragraph of text that CNN had in their article the other day. I asked her if she knew what it said. She said yes, she did...but the only people she knows of who text/abbreviate like that,anyway, were hispanics & blacks.

    August 29, 2010 at 22:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pablo

      That's called pointing the finger. Many kids do it to put the attention on some other person or race, not all Hispanics/Blacks are drug/ alcohol abusers.

      August 31, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
  10. Monty

    Wow its amazing cnn actually corrected its self.

    August 30, 2010 at 06:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. sandy

    It is interesting to read letters from revolutionary war soldiers and civil war soldiers often uneducated and writing under brutal conditions.
    These young men and their families wrote letters that were not only eloquent but displayed perfect grammar and spelling. We have become a nation of people who do not respect the written word. We write poorly and speak unintelligibly.
    Oftentimes, I am shocked at the correspondence I receive in business letters. The grammar, spelling etc. is atrocious. Perhaps, all this texting is contributing to the inability of young people to adapt to writing and speaking properly in school and work. With the increasing unemployment and exporting of American jobs, perhaps we should put an emphasis on re-educating our youth and adults!

    August 30, 2010 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Pablo

    I am a 17yr old male who lives in a drug infested town, it's spreading like a diease to younger, and younger kids. I've seen all sorts of things that I should not be seeing at such a young age. I personally am ashamed of today's youth for going into such a bad regime of drugs, but the truth is, I have NEVER seen any of those "Teenage Terms". Those authors are just trying to find another way to make a quick buck from parents who are sincerely concerned about their kids, as they should be. Listen parents, if you are truly concerned about your child as you say you are, sit down and speak to them, not as a parent but as a peer and don't go trying to interrogate them. I feel very comfortable telling anything to my parents because they actually talk to me and not order or accuse me of being a drug addict. Overall they trust me, and I trust them.

    August 31, 2010 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Merewyn

    This article (and the one it references) reminds me of the Blue Star Tattoo myth that used to go around... when it comes to drugs, people tend to not check the facts and allow urban legends to make their way into headlines and be reported as actual fact. I would be willing to bet that the specific "text" in the first article (the one that is really 1337, not texting acronyms at all!) did not come from a police report. The author of the article was simply trolled.

    September 1, 2010 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Drug Abuse Prevention

    It's certainly a scary situation. I've told my teen not to text on numerous occasions.

    http://www.workingpartners.com/products-and-services/

    October 14, 2010 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply

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