Cracking the Teen Texting Code

Recognize the Lingo

Teens use a whole slang of letter, numbers and acronyms when texting, and if you feel left in the dust, you aren't alone. In fact, "leet speak, " an "elite" computer code that used to be the domain of computer geeks, is finding its way into the mainstream.

In leet speak (1337 5p33k), numbers take the place of some letters, words are misspelled intentionally and acronyms rule. For example, look at this sentence: "W4nt 2 go 2 the m411 t0d4y?" Can you translate it? It actually morphs into "Want to go to the mall today?"

Even if you don't speak fluent leet, you can still become knowledgeable about texting. Some parents have a knee-jerk reaction that texting is for kids and would be more time consuming than placing a call.

Research suggests, however, that kids are more likely to respond to a text from mom or dad than a phone call, because it's more discreet. No one has to know your mom is calling again. And you don't have to hear the attitude in your teen's voice when he or she replies!

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