Understanding Teen Communication

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I realized “GHOSTING” wasn’t in my vocabulary at the LAE4-HA luncheon.  The speaker used it with so much familiarity that it made me want to find other terms that teens are using.  So I started looking up “teen text message meanings” and Wow!  There are a lot of terms and a lot of slang.  Some kinda cool and some kinda scary.  BTW, Ghosting means that someone has texted you, but you are ignoring the text as though you never got it.  Evidently this is considered very rude.

I bet we have all been a party to a conversation that goes something like this….”Kids are on their phones from dawn til dusk and they aren’t going to be able to communicate face to face!”  Or “when I bring kids places all they want to do is stay on their phones instead of talking together.”

Sound familiar?  In my experience with my own children, they really don’t appreciate it when I point out that idea that they are on their phones all the time.  But they really are!

Through 4-H we are building an adult/youth partnership that begins from the moment we meet youth until, well……it lasts forever!  Many adult 4-H leaders and volunteers are fixtures in a child’s life.  BTW, kids aren’t impressed when adults try to keep up with current day trends on social media.  Using their slang and copycatting their behavior isn’t always acceptable.  But, it’s still important that we know and understand their language so that we can be available to guide or lead them through decisions.

Our role as adults is to teach our youth how to avoid the risks and consequences associated with technology.  The major risks are texting while driving, sexting, and cyber-bullying.  There are so many dangers connected to the three risks listed that youth probably are familiar and understand, but since teens do not always think through consequences of their actions they may not consider the full weight of choices.

A big help to youth would be for a 4-H adult in their life to reach out and point out the risks.  Let them know if you are concerned and explain that their actions do not just stop when they hit the “send” button.  With a strong adult/youth partnership we can have candid open conversations with youth.  They are amazingly open to our opinions and will listen to us (maybe unlike the way that they hide from their parents).

If you are aware that a child is in a dangerous situation or heading toward disaster with their texting habits, it’s critical that you step forward and let their parents know.  We are mandated reporters and it’s our responsibility to the children that we serve to insure that they are safe.

Take a minute to see how proficient you are with 9 general text messages.  See below.

Decoding Kids Text Messages

Teen Slang Decoded

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