Written By: Rachel Strong
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I was watching Headline News's news ticker when I read something that made me LOL. The ticker said that English teachers R concerned CUZ more & more they R seeing IM abbreviations such as "UR" & "B4" N English assignments.

So Y is this a bad thing? CUZ language is always evolving...or devolving. We humans R always trying 2 find the fastest, easiest way of doing things. U can C this in some of our most irregular verbs "2 be" & "2 go".

As TM, EM & IM become more popular, punctuation & capitalization R being used less & less. Not 2 mention, 2day's youth have a language all their own. Gone is the need 2 put notes in code developed between friends. Now, all kids need 2 do is use the IM text they know already.

TV shows such as Dateline's weekly "2 Catch a Predator" highlight the scourge that is online predation. While Dateline & the cops use adult decoys 2 entice (some say entrap) online child predators, 2 many kids fall victim 2 the predators 2 smart for the trap.

With all the publicity & coverage given 2 NET predators, it is vitally important 2 know what UR kids R saying online, & 2 whom.

If UR children R 2 young for much online surfing, start early. Let them know that CUZ U R the parent, U will be checking their email, MySpace page, & online chat logs regularly & when they least expect it. When they get older, especially, this will become a point of contention, but U just need 2 reiterate 2 UR child that U R the parent & U R going 2 do this whether they like it or not. (Do not confront them on anything they say about U in the email, but instead pick UR battles & save them for when something is obviously wrong.)

If UR child is already entrenched in the online world, set some ground rules. Have them watch "2 Catch a Predator" or other stories on the downsides of online chatting. While UR children will probably keep saying the usual-"My friends aren't like that," "I wouldn't do that," & the like-they will at least know that those kind of people R out there.

Also tell UR older children that U R going 2 start watching their MySpace page, if they have one. MySpace is a wonderful place 2 get 2 know UR kid, & who is talking 2 UR kid. It is also a wonderful place 4 everyone else 2 get 2 know UR kid.

There R also software programs 2 block unknown IM users from contacting UR children. A quick search of "NET filters" will come up with loads of info & different companies who offer these services.

IM speak is like another language, U need 2 learn it 2 understand. Parents need 2 learn what, how, & 2 whom their children R speaking online. The dangers 2 our children R not new, but @TEOTD, our children R just inviting the bad guys & girls in2 the house every day.

SOMY? :)

Translation Key:

@TEOTD-at the end of the day


2-to, too, two

4-for, four





IM-Instant Message

IMHO-in my humble opinion

LOL-laugh(ing) out loud



SOMY-sick of me yet?

TM-test messages


UR-you are or your


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