Webspeak: The Secret Language of Teens


Webspeak reflects a versatility that may actually be a strength, as long as the new language is used appropriately, according to Tannen.

"You need to use language that's appropriate to the context, just as you need to dress in a way that's appropriate to the context," Tannen says. "Adults look silly when they try to dress like kids. They might sound a little silly trying to talk like kids."

What Parents Can Do

Emphasize the importance of proofreading any written material. When a language like this becomes second nature, it may be difficult to break the habit when necessary, and spell or grammar checks usually will not catch this type of error. College professors do not want abbreviations or slang in term papers, just as employers do not want to see it in company memos.

Phrases Parents Should Know

KPC: keeping parents clueless

POS: parent over shoulder

420: marijuana

NIFOC: nude in front of computer

For more information on learning Web lingo, visit:




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