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My teen lost her cell phone privileges after a recent infraction of our house rules. Some might call it a minor offense but not Mom. When you pay the cell phone bill, you have all the power. I intend to use that power until the day she turns eighteen.
I confiscated the phone for the day. Penalties must be paid.
I'm not a nosey person by nature, but like any good mother, I know it’s my duty to snoop through my kid's belongings. Just to make sure they're ok. Also, it’s entertaining.
When I picked up the obnoxious, glittery pink phone, I knew I had no choice. Cringing, in the way you might if a loved one asks you to take a quick look down below at a rash they've developed. Not really wanting to look but also oddly curious.
Her smartphone searches my face for recognition. Finding none, it prompts me to enter the passcode manually. I punch in the password we gave her and swore her never to change. Denied. Really? I try her birthday. Not it. Channeling my inner teenage girl, I did a quick internet search and BINGO. I'm in.
Did you know Harry Styles was born in February?
I started with photos and videos. Ok good. No nudes. Moving on.
Like any middle-aged Mom who doesn't know better, I think the text messages will be the jackpot. Nope.
It was all so…tame. No boyfriend, no name-calling, no illicit behavior.
My husband suggested I try the DM's in her Instagram account. Out loud, I wonder, what the heck is a DM?
My daughter recently got permission to have Instagram. She wasted no time becoming an active member of the community.
Her DM’s turned out to be the motherlode of….???? Acronyms?
Here's what I learned from reading my daughter’s DM’s:
They speak a different language.
Teens have taken the secret handshake to a whole new level. They've practically invented a new language almost impervious to parents prying eyes. I spent hours on the internet trying to crack the code, deciphering these cryptic text messages only to learn – not much.
No surprises here, but teens don't care about a lot, as in – DILLIGAS, or Do I Look Like I Give A ****? Or my personal favorite - WEG (that's Wicked Evil Grin). I am still trying to find a clever opportunity to use these in my book club text group.
They use Aliases.
At first, I thought my teen was constantly talking to a lot of different guys. Nope. Just a bunch of girlfriends with aliases. Why? It's a mystery. Maybe it's a cover, a pen name, or a funny joke between friends. It's not like I can ask her, right?
It took some creative thinking to decipher which friends matched up with the odd cast of characters on my daughter's phone. After all the cringy digging, I found one suspicious-looking exchange that might be a love interest. Trying to imitate the back-and-forth style and not come off as a fraud, I typed, "SUP?" and waited for a reply. After no response, I moved on.
Maybe I was wrong, and she doesn't have a boyfriend yet.
They don't have much to say...or do they?
They let GIF's, videos, and acronyms speak for them. If they want to properly sum up how their English exam went or make fun of the Substitute Algebra Teacher, the perfect eye roll GIF can always be found. No words necessary. As a card-carrying member (ok, it's my driver's license) of the GEN Xer's, I had no idea an entire industry of content creators existed to churn out GIF's.
Basically, teens trade videos back and forth and back and forth. And back and forth, without ever using words. All. Day. Long.
What Did I Learn?
I learned a lot about what it's like to be a teen, but almost nothing new about my kid. I put the phone down, regretting my invasion of her privacy.
Suddenly the phone PING’s. I look down to see the response to the DM I sent earlier…
Sup, girl? XOXO