In the past month, many national media outlets have focused on stories about Texting Slang that Every Parent Should Know. Most parents know the acronym LOL means 'laugh out loud' and BRB is 'be right back.' But many don’t know that TDTM means ‘talk dirty to me’ and PIR means ‘parents in room.’
How do you talk to your kids about this whole new language that is erupting on social media? Many of these acronyms are used to solicit inappropriate photos between teens, but how do we curb it from an early age?
“I call these terms tackronyms when I talk to my kids, 5 and 7 years old, about what is appropriate to text,” says Chris Phelps, a Dallas mother and founder of the Campaign for Kindness, a program whose overarching goal is to create a national ripple effect of kindness as more and more children learn to distinguish between kind and “tacky” words and actions and make the choice to be kind.
“Many parents provide their kids with phones at younger and younger ages because of necessity. If we don’t teach the lessons of common decency from an early age, the boat can be easily missed.”
Most parents agree that children are sponges, and there are steps every parent takes to create an environment conducive to good language and behavior both in person and on-line.
Before children learn habits they need to hide from their parents, take the opportunity to provide them with tools to self-police tacky words and behavior from an early age. Many books and tools are available to help parents start their elementary-aged children down the right path. One that stands above the rest, Margo’s Magnificent Choice – winner of the 2014 Silver Nautilus Award, “is a well-written story that teaches kids about the power of words and the impact of making good choices. When combined with a Tacky Box, the story makes a very effective and hands-on parenting tool and proves that learning about kindness can be very fun,” according to National Children’s Book Review.
As recently as last fall, many Dallas-area elementary schools took part in an incubator project anchored by Margo’s Magnificent Choice, and the reception by parents and educators was overwhelmingly positive. Currently, there are developments to bring the means and method to as many Dallas ISD elementary students as possible.
Perhaps, actions like this will lead to more UR2K (you are too kind) and less WAI (what an idiot).