It's time parents of Generation Z learnt about 53X

09 May 2016 - 08:59 By NIVASHNI NAIR

What does POS mean? If you don't know, you are probably one of the many South African parents who are not fluent in secret online language used by teenagers.Although POS (parent over shoulder) and other online abbreviations were widely circulated in a list compiled by CNN in 2014, most South African parents are still clueless on text speak.Arthur Goldstuck, the founder of South African technology market research firm World Wide Worx, said: "[Many parents] still think that LOL means lots of love which, of course, leads to lots of discomfort in communication between parents and kids, because parents get it so wrong."Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird said most people would benefit from learning text speak.He said: "We have been working on these issues for a while and, to help parents and young people, we have built a site and game:"Much of the text lingo - such as CD9 (parents around/Code 9), LMIRL (let's meet in real life), GNOC (get naked on camera), 53X (sex), PAW (parents are watching) and MOS (mum over shoulder) - can be found in online dictionaries.Marc Hardwick, director of The Guardian child-protection service, said from his experience most parents had no idea of the text language their children used daily.He said: "Knowing who your children are speaking to and about what gives you the tools to parent effectively."Many parents are simply overwhelmed by the rapid technological advances in smartphones and internet-based applications.University of Free State research associate Dr Monique Emser said many parents were ignorant of the potential dangers of the internet and social media."Text speak is part of a larger issue - internet safety. This encompasses issues such as cyber bullying, inappropriate content, online grooming, online pornography, privacy and identity theft, radicalisation, self-harm and sexting," Emser said.

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day or Financial Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00.