Teens and Instant Messaging

Teenagers lead the country in use of technology. With 87% of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17, using the Internet on an almost daily basis. That number has risen 24% in the last four years. Today more teens than ever use the Internet to play games, get news, shop, and find health information.

Email, once considered cutting edge, is quickly being replaced by instant and text messaging. Email is considered the method to communicate with adults like teachers or to send long messages to a large group of friends. But it is in IM that teens share details of their lives with friends.

Instant messaging allows for real-time communication. It allows users to actually carry on a conversation. Instant messaging has also grown in popularity because you can customize the look and feel of messages through buddy icons and other means. Allowing teens to better express themselves without even having to use any words. Using IM programs, teens can post personal profiles and messages that will automatically post when they are away from their computer.

One study found that 82% of teens use the Internet to connect with close friends that they associate with in real life. IM has replaced the use of telephones for many teens. It’s not surprising. With a telephone call anyone can hear what you are saying. Instant messaging is more private. Especially since many teenagers use acronyms instead of real words when typing IM messages.

Here is a list of popular acronyms that teens use on-line. Knowing these acronyms and regularly reviewing your child’s on-line use in IM and chat rooms will help protect them and keep you in the loop.

  • PAW – parents are watching
  • PAL – parents are listening
  • POS – parents over the shoulder
  • PIR – parents in room
  • P911 – parent alert
  • ASL – age-sex-location
  • MorF – male or female
  • KFY – kiss for you
  • WYCM – will you call me
  • LMIRL – let’s meet in real life
  • SYT – see you tonight

As parents it is important that we keep informed about the cyberspace world that so many teenagers live in today.

See related blogs:
Teaching Teenagers About The Danger Of Internet Predators

Internet safety: Sign a Family Contract

Internet Safety – Child Predators Investigation

Internet Safety: Intruder In the House

Protecting Your Child From Internet Pornography

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About Teresa McEntire

Teresa McEntire grew up in Utah the oldest of four children. She currently lives in Kuna, Idaho, near Boise. She and her husband Gene have been married for almost ten years. She has three children Tyler, age six, Alysta, four, and Kelsey, two. She is a stay-at-home mom who loves to scrapbook, read, and of course write. Spending time with her family, including extended family, is a priority. She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and currently works with the young women. Teresa has a degree in Elementary Education from Utah State University and taught 6th grade before her son was born. She also ran an own in-home daycare for three years. She currently writes educational materials as well as blogs for Families.com. Although her formal education consisted of a variety of child development classes she has found that nothing teaches you better than the real thing. She is constantly learning as her children grow and enjoys sharing that knowledge with her readers.