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Deciphering Internet Secret Codes!

Ever find a note around the house written by your child in a "language" that you can't decipher? While you may know what BFF stands for (best friends forever), if you have a limited secret code vocabulary and aren't up on the teen lingo of today, you may be at a loss. But don't worry, you are not alone. Most parents are in the same exact boat. For generations kids have been using a secret code to communicate with their peers.

Internet Safety: Cracking the Code

If your tween is writing things in code, it stands to reason that there are things that she doesn't want others to be able to decipher. The good news is that may or may not be you! She could be using "code" to keep other kids, or even teachers, from being able to read her communications, should they be intercepted. There are some secret codes that are used in a more explicit nature of which parents should be aware. Sometimes these codes are used via notes, cell phones, and online. For example, may kids use the word "banana" as a code word for "penis" and "kitty" for "vagina." Many youngsters today use the code "420" for talking about marijuana.

Parenting tips for internet safety and secret codes:

  • Avoid automatically assuming that a code means something bad. Many kids use secret codes in completely harmless ways or may be just acting silly with their friends. Don't jump to conclusions.
  • Keep up on current lingo or do a search on the information you find if do come across a secret code word you can't decipher. A quick Google search will pull up a plethora of options. While some secret codes may be harmless, others may give insight as to what your kid is doing.
  • Discuss the issue with your child if you do find that the code words have sexual or negative connotations. The fact that your child is using a secret code to discuss something demonstrates that she knows the issue may be something in which she probably shouldn't be engaged anyway.
  • Using a system of rewards and consequences can help to get rid of the negative behaviors your child may have developed.

Using secret codes as a child is usually harmless. But if your child starts to give you reason to believe that there is something more to it, then take the time to investigate and discuss it with her. Just be patient, consistent, and leave the doors of communication open.