Is This Donut a Secret Message From Your Kid?

The issue with parenting in the digital age is that it moves at the speed of light, and kids are at the very forefront of it. They know about the latest apps weeks, perhaps months before you do, and they are quietly discussing who-knows-what with their friends via texting apps and Facebook messenger. The age of being able to eavesdrop on a conversation and get all the knowledge you ever needed is over.

While those days are over, we’ve developed a new way to keep up with our kids, and digital parents need digital weapons. With that being said, kids are starting to get a bit wise to the ways of the digital parent.

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Understanding Why Teens and Tweens Use Trendy Text Lingo

Text messaging is a fairly recent invention. As parents, it's often easy to get confused about how in the world you're supposed to hit those tiny buttons with your fingers, or what exactly "LOL TTYL" means. (Hint: it doesn't stand for "lots of love.")

Teens especially love to use trendy text lingo to get their point across. All of those acronyms and shortened words are easier than typing everything out and they still get the same point across if the person who receives the message understands them.

As a parent, you're probably annoyed with the turn that language has taken. But, in fact, language is constantly evolving, and has been for hundreds of years, ever since it was created. That's part of what's so great about it. This move toward text-speak is just the latest evolution of the way we speak.

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Trend Alert: 6 Messaging Apps That Let Teens Share (Iffy) Secrets

Information-sharing apps are becoming increasingly popular among teens. Learn about which ones are currently trending! This article was originally published on Common Sense Media by their Senior Content Specialist Kelly Schryver.

You probably never thought you'd see the day when Facebook wasn't the center of teens' universe. But keeping up with Facebook friends through ad-filled newsfeeds and lengthy profiles, especially given the fact that everyone knows your name, is starting to feel tiresome to many teens.

Facebook is still a go-to place for many things, such as wishing someone a happy birthday or stalking a crush. However, newer social apps make it easier, faster and more fun to capture and share fleeting moments -- sometimes anonymously. These temporary and anonymous-messaging apps provide an environment that feels more appropriate to the random, silly, saucy, and experimental sides of the average teenager.

Perhaps most importantly to teens, these apps can feel consequence-free. But of course they're not. Data never really disappears, and anonymity carries big risks. If you don't recognize the apps your kid is currently obsessing over, here's what you need to know:

Temporary Apps

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Parental Intelligence: Understanding Text Bombing

In 2011, a fifteen-year-old girl was released from the hospital following a failed suicide attempt. However, when she got out of the hospital, the girls who had been bullying her by using a text bombing website to send her multiple text messages, picked up right where they left off.

Her second suicide attempt was successful.

An important part of parental intelligence is understanding what text bombing is, and how kids are using it to cyberbully and harass each other. With new apps being developed every day, it doesn't matter that the Google App store has banned two of the apps responsible for allowing kids to demonstrate this type of behavior - SMSBomber and SMSBarrage. 

These apps are a new form of cyberbullying and allow kids to download them and then send multiple text messages to the same person. By using the app, a kid can send thousands of different text messages to the same person during the course of the day. Even as an adult, imagine receiving a thousand different text messages from the same place during one day. Perhaps the messages said something like, "Your wife is cheating on you", "I saw her with someone else today", or "Your marriage is over." Even if you feel relatively solid within your marriage, getting so many of those text messages all at once is sure to at least make you doubt the faithfulness of your wife. 

For kids, the feeling is amplified even more.

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