Gardaí urged to produce guide to sexualised code used by children for texting and on social media

Gardaí have been urged to produce a guide for parents on the code being used by their children to hold highly-sexualised interactions with their friends by text or on social media.

Gardaí urged to produce guide to sexualised code used by children for texting and on social media

Fianna Fáil spokeswoman on children and youth affairs, Anne Rabbitte made the call after the Police Service of Northern Ireland produced a list of up to 100 terms it had encountered, to help parents become more aware of the hidden terms being used by children.

The acronyms, and several images, would appear innocuous to those who did not understand their meanings.

For example, few parents would know that the letters GNOC, in teenage text speak, means “get naked on cam” while IWSN is shorthand for “I want sex now”.

Even something as innocent as a peach emoji is being used to signify a backside and an aubergine is code for a penis.

While some of the code seems innocent — somehow 143 is supposed to signify “I love you” and K4Y is “kiss for you” — others seem much more sexualised and, in some cases even potentially dangerous.

For example, LMIRL is “let’s meet in real life” which infers the person is talking to a complete stranger on social media and is prepared to go to meet them.

NIFOC is “naked in front of the computer” which may well be an invite to webcam sexual images of themselves.

There are even a myriad of codes to let the person know that a parent is nearby or potentially listening in.

Despite the PSNI putting the list on its Newry and Mourne Facebook page only a few days ago, it has been shared almost 5,000 times, often by parents who are passing it on to their friends.

The police message read: “Ave a lk at ur kds devices & use this 2 translate!”

Deputy Rabbitte, who sits on the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs, said there was an unintentional ignorance among parents who just were not up to date with the terms being used by teenagers and so are unable to tell what they were discussing.

“Parents need support to understand where their kids are at,” she said. “Because if kids are texting at this level they are much more advanced than we are.”

Ms Rabbitte pointed out that while the likes of Facebook are more public, children could use Snapchat to have private conversations in groups where these sexualised conversations and bullying could go undetected.

The Galway TD said she had been contacted in relation to a situation in which a girl shared a naked picture of herself with her boyfriend.

He posted it on Snapchat; it was shared and then the school was facing into a child protection issue as it became apparent the image was taken on school grounds.

“All phones should be banned from school,” said Ms Rabbitte.

“They should be taken out of the system for those eight hours. At home, parents need to know these terms so that if they come across them on their children’s phones they know they are inappropriate.”

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