Cryptic codes and your kids

FRESNO, Calif.

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It's no secret that kids are constantly texting.

Destiny Cabanyog: "I do it all day, yeah, pretty much."

Cristina Sandoval: "I don't know, like a hundred per day or more."

But what they're writing often is a secret they don't want their parents to know. That's why many young texters now use cryptic combinations of letters and numbers, making it hard for adults to understand their messages.

We hit the streets to see if parents could crack the code.

A Merced father of four was surprised to hear "PAW" is an abbreviation for "parents are watching." There's also CD 9, short for "Code 9," which is another way kids warn one another not to send certain messages because their mom or dad might see them.

Bruce Ricketts: "Oh wow, they're getting sneaky, aren't they?"

Other adults were equally in the dark.

Reporter: "DOC, what do you think that means?

Bobbie Hofler: "I have no idea."

Reporter: "It means drug of choice."

Bobbie Hofler: "No I wouldn't have gotten that one, looks like doc to me."

The examples are endless! Many of them just use the first letter of each word, like "GNOC" meaning "get naked on camera." Or LGH, short for "let's get high." Others replace whole words with one letter or number, like "CU 46" which stands for "see you for sex."

Bobbie Hofler: "These are all new to me ... I'm old school, lol!"

And then there are the really confusing codes that use numbers and symbols in place of letters.

Beverley Hayes: "It's really surprising, it's pretty sophisticated!"

Experts warn parents need to educate themselves.

Samantha Segars: "It's a new language. I think adults can learn how to speak the language."

Samantha Segars, the Director of Sierra Vista Child and Family Services in Merced, suggests parents search for teen texting dictionaries online. But since kids also make up their own abbreviations, she says the most important thing is communication.

Samantha Segars: "I think the best thing for parents to do is just have an open line of communication with their kids and talk to them every day and ask them direct questions."

Segars adds texting can be a good way for parents to stay in touch with their children, and it can also help them learn the lingo.

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TERMS FROM OUR STORY:

PAW=parents are watching
CD 9= code 9, parents are around
DOC=drug of choice
GNOC=get naked on camera
LGH=let's get high
CU 46= see you for sex
4lc0|-|0l= alcohol
i w45 50 ;-}~ 1457 n16h7=I was so drunk last night.

HELPFUL TEEN TEXTING TRANSLATION WEBSITES:

http://www.webopedia.com/quick_ref/textmessageabbreviations.asp
http://www.freewebs.com/text4me/shorttermsfortexting.htm

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