The New language In Town – Virtual World Lingo- Do You Know It?

Over the years, a completely new set of terms, definitions, phrases, abbreviations and descriptions have invaded our vocabulary, thanks to gennext. It has happened slowly but steadily, and most of us are not even aware exactly when we learnt their usage and they became a part of our social media world.

Datz ryte, U gssd it crrct. Am tlkng abt d new lingo in town, SMS/Text/Tweet lingo dat we lrn frm d young & so prlfclly use.

For those of us raised to speak and write the Queen’s English grammatically correct, this is a difficult and a painful exercise. But the kids take to it like ducks take to water. And as usual, we go where the kids go. Even the Oxford Dictionary is going there, adding newly-coined terms every year!!

In addition to truncated words, there has also been a spurt in abbreviated phrases and clauses. Take for e.g. the ubiquitous LOL (laugh Out Loud), a suitable reply to pen when U read a funny post.  But here is a secret- when your teen says it out loud after you crack a joke or make a comment; it’s very unlikely he is appreciating your humour.

As parents to geeky, net-savvy tweens and teens you have your task cut out for you. Not only do you have to master modern gadgets, learn about security and net etiquette but you also have to understand the secret codes your kids use. Else how will you be on the same page, understand them and keep tabs on them? For all said and done and all those charged debates about privacy, kids need you to spell out their boundaries. They will test the limits of those boundaries however, and so you have to monitor them online. It will help if you know what they are saying and to whom.

Personally, I love codes and consider it a challenge to decipher them. I suggest you treat these words as codes and try breaking them. That way it will be less overwhelming (if that’s what you are feeling right now). It can be entertaining and eye-opening too. Some of the commonly used texts and abbreviations are (courtesy

BRB: Be Right back

B4N: Bye for Now

ILY: I love You

JK: Just Kidding

NIMBY: Not In My Backyard

WYWH: Wish You Were Here

XOXO: Hugs And Kisses

Well, these sound quite safe and teen-like don’t they? Just the way kids are likely to converse. But there are more. These are the ones the young often use to fog parents and you need to watch out for.

143: I Love You

182: I Hate You

ADR: Address

A/S/L: Address/Sex/Location

CD9: Code9 (which means parents around)

F2F: Face to face

PIR: Parents In Room

RU/18: Are You over 18

WYCM: Will You Call Me

That’s just a sample of the acronyms and abbreviations being used now. Knowledge of these abbreviations will help you know whether you should be worried about any online chat your child maybe having. And won’t you be a cool parent then? A parent with a sure cyber footing?

Here is a very handy resource for parents of my generation. The web’s largest resource for abbreviations and acronyms: Now isn’t that just wonderful!!!

Once again, McAfee Total Protection is the software that will do wonders for your peace of mind. Set parental controls for each individual child so that if they use suspicious language, you will be remotely informed. You can then ask for clarifications. You have the right to do so because you have given them the privilege of using internet-enabled devices on the understanding they will use them responsibly. It’s a parent’s duty to teach children the STOP.THINK.CONNECT message responsibly right from an early age.

Ciao, CUL8R!!

Resource for further reference: Netlingo-The Internet Dictionary:



Parenting 101: Raising Responsible Digital Citizens

Yes, yes I know. Being a parent, there are 101 things to be done every day. And you are probably thinking I am asking too much by suggesting you raise digitally aware kids. For this, it means you have to be a digital citizen who knows his/her way in the cyber world and can advise kids on correct behaviour, etiquette and security measures.

But just think for a second– Who else will do it, if not you, being the parent? And as your kids will be digital citizens, don’t you need to prepare them for safe digital lives?

The 10 things you must do to ensure your children are safe online:

  •  Learn Internet A, B, C to know your children are doing it right

Become a digital literate yourself and stay updated. It’s really easy to learn. Just learn the basics of operating a computer and signing up on social media. You will pick up more as you go ahead.

  •  Be their gaming partners and Facebook friends

The best way you can play an active role in their digital life is by being a part of it. Show interest in the games they play, sites they visit and their online friends. Make their digital life a part of your daily conversations so they can freely talk about anything they see or experience online. This will also help you to monitor them without raising their hackles

  •   Talk and share

Share your concerns. Talk about stranger-danger and malware. Let the children know that you are aware of the threats in the digital world and are talking from experience and knowledge. When you say ‘no’, offer logical explanations that they can’t refute easily

  •   Draw boundaries

Set rules and usage of Internet timings together. That way they get to use the internet at a time of their choice, while you can ensure it’s when a responsible adult is around. A win-win situation for both. Don’t forget to draw up penalties for breaking rules. It’s necessary to maintain discipline

  •   Be astute

Periodically review security and privacy settings: Children have short attention span and forget safety lessons. They often unknowingly give access to third-party apps and outsiders to their pages. Check for this and edit them. Tell your children what you did and why.

  •   Create their protective shields

Teach them simple tricks like how to get out of an awkward situation; how to handle online spats and how to reject friendship requests from strangers. Another must-teach is what to do if they are exposed to inappropriate content and to approach you if they feel threatened online

  •  Review their digital footprints

Drill into kids that “what goes online stays online”. Ensure that your child knows the long-term consequences of posting comments, status and pics. Tell them how pictures are morphed, words are used out-of-context to create wrong impressions and how posts can affect career & college prospects

  •  Brush, wash & sign-out at night

Teach kids digital hygiene along with personal hygiene. Just like they brush teeth and wash hands to keep out germs; they must use strong passwords, take regular backups, not download files from dubious sources, click on a link after verifying authenticity and keep the anti-virus running and Firewall ON to keep out malware. They must also sign out of all accounts every time.

  •   Insist on good manners everywhere

Even in the digital world. Discuss digital etiquette. Kids must behave fairly, wisely, kindly and responsibly. Stealing and cheating are wrong and punishable in the digital world as in the real world

  •  Well done and a pat on the back

Never take their good practices as granted and praise good initiatives. Show approval when they do the right things online.

The best digital hygiene you can ensure your kid is by installing advanced and comprehensive security software like McAfee Family Protection. You can create different login accounts for your each child, fix sites and timings and be informed if they connect with strangers or share inappropriate content. Learn more here.

And the mantra you need to give each child to stay safe online? – “STOP. THINK. CONNECT.”

Digital Natives and Digital Deceptions- What The McAfee Survey Indicates

The latest McAfee Digital Deception survey of US kids shows that kids have better awareness than their parents of the potential online dangers but still they end up committing errors that might cause them harm.

The aim of the study was to arrive at a better understanding of the potentially dangerous online behaviours among young people aged 10-23, as well as a parents’ knowledge of these behaviours.

I know that my Indian friends might argue that these statistics are for the US but just think a while on this. The world today has become a global village, thanks to technology, and no trend can stay limited to a particular part of the world. So what’s true of the US today might become true of India tomorrow. Moreover, the parent-child tech gap there appears to be the same as it’s in India.

Hence, let us concentrate on the takeaways from the McAfee Digital Deception survey that can help us better monitor our kids online. Once we are aware of the extent of the divide, we can take concrete decisions as to our approach to internet safety for kids.

The McAfee survey throws relief to  some glaring parent-child digital divide facts:

Þ     Young people believe that their parents trust them to make smart decisions online; yet they often endanger themselves by posting personal or objectionable content; engaging in online spats and bullying; or spreading malicious content. Parents are mostly clueless about this

Þ     As a result of their behaviour, some young people have lost friends, been punished, or have felt fearful for their safety. Again, parents come to know of this very late, or may be never

Þ     Over 25% of the youth have witnessed cruel online behaviour; and some have been victims themselves. Typically, parents remain clueless

Þ     The young people don’t agree with the contention of parents regulating and monitoring  their child’s online behaviour

Þ     While the youth take to social media and new technology like a duck takes to water, parents mostly feel out of their depths. The overwhelming feeling among parents is that they are outsmarted by their children and they don’t have time to keep up with online progress

Þ     Young people use their parent’s limited tech acumen and time constraints to their advantage, finding ways to hide their participation in risky and sometimes illegal activities.

What is the lesson for us parents? Parents must realize that the youth know of the dangers online but will still continue to engage in this behaviour. So what should they do to safeguard their kids?

 The findings of the McAfee survey imply:

Þ     Besides implementing parental controls to monitor online activities and supervising kids when they start surfing, parents have to act as a guide  to their child

Þ     They must engage their child in online safety dialogues on online safety and what the potential  implications of unsafe online activity could be

Þ     Parents should ensure that these safety dialogues start early and occur often –starting in their preteens, before they begin experimenting in their teen years, when they are most at risk

Þ     This will ensure that kids treat parents as experts and confidants, as they navigate and create their presence in the online world.

There, you have it in black & white. All you need to do is be the parent in the digital world too.  For this you need to exude confidence and authority and earn their trust.  I think that’s implementable, don’t you?  Plus McAfee Security Centre and Cybermum India will be there to solve all your queries.  🙂

Happy Parenting folks! Keep your kids safe online.

Is Your SNS Addiction Getting Out of Hand? – All Names Aren’t Cool

The news that went viral on social networking sites last week made me smile and shake my head and say, “Oh dear, oh dear”, in a real Miss Marple fashion. The Internet community was agog with the news of a newborn being named Hashtag! Nothing extraordinary perhaps, given the penchant among modern parents for bestowing unique names, but it surely makes it evident that the Mother is a Twitter addict. Other Internet-induced names that kids have been christened with include “Facebook“and “Like“. I am waiting for names like “Subscribe”, “Follow”, and “You-Tube”.

Parents have the right to choose unique names for their kids, names that reflect their love and liking, and I don’t argue that. But parents also need to come out of their new-found ecstasy and give a good thought to the future consequences of having such names. The names must not become a burden that the kids would want to get rid off at the earliest.

As Cybermum, my concern is with two issues here.

The Mother: With the fast growing use of technology in every sphere of life and the rise in the use of smartphones among kids, it is but a given that there will evolve more online communities and children will join such platforms at even earlier ages than the current 13. So if the Mother herself is a self-declared Twitter or Facebook or G+ addict, can she really control her child on social networking platforms or say a Big “No” to the child? A parent’s behaviour gives the kids arsenal to defeat them in parent-child tussles. Take for example an imaginary kid named “Status”, who would one day surely tell her Mom, “Well! I am from Facebook, aren’t I, so I have every right to go back to my origin”, or the like.

How can a Mother caution her child against something she herself so obviously is addicted to?

The Child: It does well to revisit one’s childhood memories and recall how kids tease those with funny names. Just think of you and your friends in junior and middle school. Did you never tease someone? What was it about- was it for a funny name, behavioural problem, dressing sense?  Had you ever been teased? How did it feel to be mocked and bullied? Do you want to subject your child to the same humiliation?

Kids can be quite cruel at times in their words and actions and this can have a negative consequence on the bullied child. A weird name will be like an open invitation to taunt and tease and torture from Day 1. Your kid might be able to take it for a while, even retort back if strong in character, but what if it continues and the child feels lonely, bullied, embarrassed? What if the child loses self-confidence and goes into depression or becomes a rebel and hates you for being the cause of the torture?

Would you like your action to lead to bullying of your child?

So go ahead. Have a lovely time looking for a unique name for your child – Google, ask your friends, take your parents’ advice. But make it a name your child will be proud of, a name your child will rejoice in.

And while on the net, remember to play safe. Use good security software and teach your kids by example.