Parents, your guide to the Internet is a 49-year-old man who graduated from Brigham Young University before your children were born. Nonetheless, this man has his finger on the digital pulse of the nation's youth, understands how they speak (he calls it "lingo") and is here to help.
That man is Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. And even though Idaho's tricky teens may think they've got the wool pulled over the eyes of oldsters, he is prepared to wade into the fray of modern Internet-based communications.
Ever wondered what that gobbledygook your kids are sending each other on their phones or instant-messaging programs? So has Wasden. Now he knows that when a teen sends a note that says "POS," there's a chance that kid isn't talking about a poorly operating car. Nope, they mean "Parent Over Shoulder," and he thinks parents should be more places than just that.
Wasden has released a new Internet guide for parents, to help them decipher kid code.
The guide, released under the auspices of the ProTec Teens initiative, is exhaustive, and, at times, bizarre.
For instance, Wasden can tell you just what the following message means: "19/m/ca watz ur n/a/s/l? snd m ur p# we can pRt! g2g4n"
The message, Wasden surmises, is from a 19-year-old male located in California (19/m/ca), asking for the recipient's name, age, sex, and location (watz ur n/a/s/l). His message is: "Send me your phone number (snd m ur p#). We can party! (we can pRt!) Got to go for now (g2g4n)."
Wasden said he and his staff are particularly concerned with so-called social networking Web sites like MySpace.com and Facebook.com, both of which enable people of all ages to hook up, for reasons platonic or otherwise.
"Social networking Web sites have become extremely popular with young people," Wasden said in a prepared statement. "This popularity can easily equate to danger because it invites one-to-one communication with people who may not be whom they claim to be."