My cell phone vibrates to alert me that I have a new text message. I open my phone, and read, "Hey ... cool moms going to lol when you r late. Haha. Souuuljah."

This text message is from my mother. I don't know why she said "Souuuljah," or why she spelled out words that already have an abbreviated form in text message lingo. I showed all my friends this embarrassing text message, and I was informed that all of their parents do the same thing. We came to the conclusion that many parents seem quite lost and confused about how to properly text message.

I was curious to know exactly why parents felt the need to text message their kids, rather than just call. I figure it has something to do with the current popularity of texting among teens. I asked Karen Giannotti, 49, the mother of two teens in Danville.

"(We text) to show that we're living in the 2000s and to show that we're smarter than all of you teenagers think!" She also gets a kick out of the fact that "LOL" stands for "laugh out loud" these days, instead of "little old lady" that she remembers it standing for way back when.

From a teenager's perspective, Tori Selway, 16, of Walnut Creek, says, "My mom takes so long to text message me back ... it's almost pointless."

I can relate. My mom takes forever to text me back. My dad doesn't even know how to open a text. It's obvious to me that a lot of parents could use a little help with their text messaging skills.


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Here's a few phrases from what can be thought of as the text messaging dictionary:

  • LOL = laugh out loud

  • TTUL = talk to you later

  • U = you

  • C = see

  • NE = any

  • B4 = before

  • IDK = I don't know

  • OMG = oh my gosh

  • JK = just kidding

  • 2 = to/too

  • 2MRW = tomorrow

    Proper grammar in text messaging is unnecessary. You basically have to undo all the rules you learned in English class to become a text message pro. For example, which do you think takes longer to write?

    "Hey, what's up? What is going on tonight? Don't forget to bring Nicole's pants and shoes!"

    Or:

    "Hey whats up. Whats goin on 2nite? Don't 4get 2 bring nicoles pants n shoes."

    The first one clearly takes longer. It's apparent that the second message was written by someone who has mastered text messaging.

    As a teenager, it's easier for me to take a text message from my mom more seriously if it looks like a normal text message, versus an instructional paragraph written by a teacher. I mean, how am I even supposed to respond to something like that? I'll feel like they won't understand one word if I reply without using all proper spelling, punctuation and grammar. With today's rapidly advancing technology, who knows what the next form of communicating will be?

    I've shown my mom the basics of texting, and I have to admit, she's catching on to it quite well. I'm still not sure why she throws in a random phrase that has nothing to do with the subject at hand, but she does it quicker than before. My mom thinks these tips helped her, too. She says with a laugh, "I feel even cooler texting now than I did before."

    The Times' Life in Perspective board is made up of local high school journalists who write stories, opinion columns and reviews for TimeOut. Carina Chiodo is a sophomore at Carondelet High School. She can be reached c/o lip@bayareanewsgroup.com. Read the LIP blog at http://www.ibabuzz.com/lip.