JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Your teenagers may be using a secret language with other teens — and strangers.
It’s full of acronyms and pictures that have coded meanings — many of them sexual — and many parents are discovering they are outmatched trying to stop it.
One way to stop it?
“No Instagram in the house, no Snapchat in the house [and] there’s no Facebook in the house,” says Matthew Salomone, a father of two. “That’s an easy way to do it.”
That may be easier said then done.
When it comes to sexting, cracking the code of acronyms could be difficult for some parents to figure out such as 53X, GNOC and WTTP.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 15 percent of adolescents have sent sexts, 27 percent had received them and 12 percent had forwarded a sext without consent.
“A lot of parents don’t know their kids have fake Instagrams or multiple Snapchat accounts they use,” says Stacy Pendarvis, the program director of the Monique Burr Foundation for Children.
Pendarvis says one third of teens consider the Internet as important as food, water and shelter.
“Kids are way more savvy than we are with technology. When we figure it out, they change the game on us,” Pendarvis said.
But Pendarvis says you can level the playing field with apps like Bark. Bark lets you monitor your child’s texts, emails, social media posts and private messages. Pendarvis advises to to sit down with your child and tell them why this isn’t an attack on their privacy.
As for those acronyms:
53x … sex
gnoc … get naked on camera
wttp … want to trade pictures
For more sexting terms that your teenager may be using, click here.
Georgia law on sexting:
Sexual Exploitation of Children
Any teenager in Georgia who creates or possesses a nude or sexually explicit image of himself or herself is guilty of a misdemeanor if:
- the teen is at least 14
- the person in possession of the image is not older than 17, and
- the person depicted in the image consented to both its creation and distribution.
- Otherwise, possessing or creating a sexually explicit image of a minor is a felony offense.
(Georgia Annotated Code section16-12-100)
Electronically Furnishing Obscene Material to Minors
Teens who furnish or provide another minor with an obscene image commit a misdemeanor offense in Georgia if:
- the recipient is 14 or older
- the recipient consents to receiving the image, and
- the sender is under the age of 18.
- Otherwise, furnishing obscene materials to minors is a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
(Georgia Annotated Code section 16-12-100.1)
In Georgia, it’s not illegal for consenting adults to send naked pictures to each other on electronic devices.
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