London - Your mission today, should you choose to accept it, is to help me break a new code. A code so perplexing and illogical that quite frankly James Bond’s Q would struggle with it. Fellow parents, I’m talking about the new teen text speak.
These acronyms are used by a generation who have rejected face-to-face conversations as too retro (but not so retro they’re back again, such as baking).
Instead they favour electronic small talk. Or, more accurately, “very tiny talk”, where whole sentences are reduced to four random letters and numbers, which is how I always imagined aliens would communicate their imminent invasion.
Just so you know, we’re way beyond LOL (laugh out loud:where have you been, Grandma?).
Today, they’ve come up with a language so complicated that David Attenborough may need to explain it in Life On Earth 2.
I can see him now, trying to gain the trust of teenagers lurking in the park at twilight, their silent faces illuminated by the light of their phones, in the same way he stalked those gorillas.
Today’s teenage acronyms are so much more complicated and, as my eldest is on the brink of her journey to the dark side, I am beginning to witness this illogical language in action.
It worries me because I have FOMO (fear of missing out). Can you, for example, guess what CWYL means? What about EAK, POS or NMJCU? Nope, me neither.
In fact it’s all got so complicated there’s a website called “teen chat decoder”, which I assume is for us, not “them”.
CWYL is “Chat with you later”; EAK is “Eating at keyboard”; POS is “Parent over shoulder”; and my favourite, NMJCU, means “Nothing much, just chillin’ you?” (which, obviously, as the mother of four children, I would never be able to use).
My ten-year-old says you getused to the acronyms (she only gets them via email at the moment because, apparently, we are “the worst parents in the world” for not forking out for a cellphone).
“But it’s so random,” I say to her, when she explains “55” means the coast is clear of meddling parents. “It doesn’t make sense.”
I suggest to Mr Candy that we make up our own language. He suggests GABO (‘Get a bottle open’) and STBD (‘Shut thebloody door’) would be the ones he used most.
Actually, I think he’d rely on TTLO (‘Turn the lights off’) .
I favour FLOG (‘For the love of God . . !) and WTH (‘What the hell?’) as new forms of expletive that work for almost every domestic situation I encounter involving the toddler, who this week unhelpfully began poking raisins into plug holes and emptying bubble bath into sinks.
Gracie-in-the-middle, aged eight, cleverly suggests T&E (‘Tired and emotional’), one of her frequent states of mind, and Henry, aged six, misunderstands and writes DIMIAWSCD on a piece of paper.
This takes him some time and is impossible for us to guess, which makes him cross, so he shouts the answer: “Don’t interrupt me, I am watching Strictly Come Dancing.”
Everyone loves this acronym game except the eldest, who thinks it is childish.
It momentarily engages the children, interrupting their various dubious activities. Gracie is wrapping Henry in bubble wrap with a view to “rolling him down the stairs”. The eldest is making a volcano in a bottle (a present bought by a childless couple who don’t have to clear up the mess).
Mabel, aged 18 months, has shut herself in the bathroom so she can put more toilet roll down the loo and repeatedly flush the chain.
We have nicknamed her the “mabelanator” as she’s a stubborn little thing with quite an adventurous and fearless spirit. Her first sentence was “I don’t like it”.
“Respect,” as we used to say when I was a teenager.
No one has done any homework (as requested) and bedtime looks as if it’s going to take hours.
Mr Candy sighs, looks at me and says:‘G&T?’ Grumpy and tired? Grown-up and troublesome? Growl and tickle? Lordy, this is going to take hours. - Daily Mail
* Lorraine Candy is editor in chief of Elle.