Communicating via text can be incredibly convenient, but it can also be used as a tool by kids to hide things from their parents. For kids, certain phrases and emojis carry hidden meanings that parents may not know. Even if you think you’re clued in to your child’s conversation, these acronyms and slang terms may make you think twice.
In light of the fact that June is Internet Safety Month, it’s important that parents know what children are talking about among themselves — something that Titania Jordan of Bark, a service that flags cyberbullying, sexting, and signs of depression in teens’s texts, is entirely tuned into. As chief parent officer at the monitoring service, Jordan has found herself learning more about the conversations of young people than most would ever expect.
From her perch at Bark, which allows parents to plug in children’s accounts and have them monitored for certain slang, she has seen everything from inappropriate conversations to suicidal thoughts expressed between children. And while the meanings uncovered from secret chats may be startling, the process to prevent these hidden conversations is easier than expected.
“I would really emphasize the first step of having a conversation,” she tells Yahoo Beauty. “Having an open and honest dialogue about what’s going on in your child’s tech world is the most important thing that you can do.”