Wednesday 13 December 2017

YOLO what? Teenagers' online language baffles parents

Children can sometimes shock their parents
Children can sometimes shock their parents

Rhiannon Williams

WHEN it comes to communicating online, parents and their offspring are speaking a different language, a survey has found.

The study discovered that although 81pc of teenagers use internet slang, the proportion of parents claiming to understand it was significantly lower.

On average, only 30pc of parents of 10-18 year olds were able to accurately identify definitions of six popular netspeak terms including LMIRL, ‘frape’, YOLO, ASL, POS and trolling.

The least understood term was LMIRL (let’s meet in real life) with only 8pc of the parents surveyed correctly defining it, meaning parents might be unaware of teens planning to meet up with strangers they’ve chatted to online.

Trolling was the term that most parents (58pc) were able to identify; other terms included YOLO (you only live once – 23pc) and the warning POS (parent over shoulder – 28pc).

Mothers are more likely to be able to interpret the slang and abreviations, with an average of 32pc able to select the correct definitions compared with 29pc of fathers.

The research, by online information site, suggests these lesser-known phrases may have more serious implications as they relate to the presence of an adult and the prospect of meeting in the real world.

The survey also found that a significant proportion of 10 -18 year olds are involved in online misdemeanours. Of those queried, 32pc admitted to have downloaded illegal content, 30pc have posted on friends' social network profiles without permission, and 20pc claim to have been cruel to others online.

Site director Phil Kingsland said parental awareness of such phrases was important to understanding their children's online behaviour.

He said: “Parents may find it frustrating that web language moves so fast, but they need to have some understanding of what's going on so that they can engage with and support their kids through some of the greyer aspects of our cyber lives today.”

Internet speech has become an integral part of many teenagers' lives, with 77pc of them admitting to using LOL (laugh out loud), 60pc using OMG (oh my God) and 36pc WTF (what the f***).

Parents are invited to test their online know-how through the site's quiz.

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