Seattle residents: Please blow up KING-TV and everyone quoted in this article. Thanks. Courtesy do_not_lick:

The secret online code that keeps parents in the dark

10:50 PM PDT on Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Sixteen-year-old Niles Jeran uses “leet speak,” an online lingo system that’s popular with kids. His friends use it too.

“I can see why parents would be worried just because it could, it can lead to danger,” he said.

“LOL” for “laughing out loud” and “TTYL” for “talk to ya later” sound innocent enough, but if you look behind some other acronyms, there could be something sinister.

“I can see why parents would be worried just because it could, it can lead to danger,” said Jeran.

Here’s why they’re worried:

– “KPC“ means “keeping parents clueless.”

– “POS” means “parent over the shoulder.”

– “GYPO” means “get your pants off.”

– “TDTM” means “talk dirty to me.”

“If you see that on your child’s screen they’re talking to somebody they shouldn’t be,” said Al Kush of Seattle-based, an Internet safety Web site for parents and teens.

NetLingo Internet dictionary

He says some leet speak is harmless, but some like TDTM is a red flag.

“That could be the first step towards blackmailing to get a kid to perform sex acts,” he said.

“NIFOC is one of the terms they will sometimes use and it means ‘naked in front of computer,’” said Kush.

And leet speak gets even sneakier. Some words replace letters with numbers and symbols.

“There are too many predators out there that could endanger their kids’ lives or could sexualize them too early by sending unwanted messages and pictures and things like that and Leet speak is just a gateway to all of that,” said family therapist Barbara Melton.

Some counselors even specialize in internet issues like this.

Susan Shankle counseled one family whose young daughter started a steamy online affair right in front of them.

“While the mom was cooking dinner and the dad was watching television, the daughter, who was 11 at the time, was carrying on this conversation with this older man,” she said.

And her parents constantly checked the messages, too.

There is a way to learn the lingo, and that’s by going online yourself. There are Web sites with online dictionaries and translators to help, like or operates the site. There, they offer a chat translator to help parents learn the lingo.

Wiredsafety says some parental control software may also help.


  1. i totally saw the corresponding short on the news last night.
    then today at work, david deadflowers came up behind me and was like UT OH DAVID OVER SHOULDER! D-O-S! and i was like DUDE I TOTALLY SAW THAT LAST NIGHT
    you should have seen the graphic they used when lori matsukawa said, “leet speak.”


  2. Semi-related
    According to my tv-enabled sources…I was ON the news last week.
    Yammering about dog poop and how no one cleans it up here.
    It was a hard-hitting exposé…talk about raking the muck.


  3. Fuck the Times. Actually, fuck both of them (Times and Post-Intelligencer). Whatever Seattle residents want, I doubt it’s a regionalized Reader’s DigestNewsweek hybrid.
    I can’t wait for the inevitable “Snakes On A Plane? You Heard Right” article.


    1. Waitasecond, this was King 5. Fuck those guys too. Goddammit news sucks in Seattle. I don’t know why I forgot who wrote the article within seconds of finishing it. We have a “no-local-news” clause around the Macfarlane household.


  4. Oy!! I couldn’t get through the article. The lameness became overpowering about halfway into it. Gotta love LOCAL NEWS! “Which popular soft drink causes cancer? We’ll tell you at 11!”


      1. no, I’m 35. my point was that they were just as far off writing about D&D in the 90s as the seattle paper is to write about leet speek in 2006.


    1. No. You should consider it to be sarcastic overstatement for comic effect in the context of a satirical attack on your ideas. Ordinarily I would also say “and that should have been obvious,” but it’s already been shown that nuance and analysis and critical thought are not your forte.
      In retrospect, the article itself without adornment would have been much funnier.


        An LCSW is a clinical practitioner with an MSW, right?
        I knew I was right not to stop with the Masters’ degree. You can’t trust those things – they obviously signal no winnowing of the proverbial wheat and chaff. I’ll only be able to look at myself when I complete the doctorate.
        Speaking, as we were, of L33T speak (that is, the archaic, Usenet-inspired, mondo-2000 variety, the name of which must properly be spelt with 3s, not Es, and which certainly does NOT refer to the abbreviation-ridden patois that millennial-generation kids use while texting each other ), a whole class of my students (not a large class, of course) did their end-of-semester evaluations of me entirely in L33T. As a joke – I know from grading their papers that they were able to use standard English. It’s common to crib the evaluations for positive remarks to be included in the Teaching Letter, which is included in one’s hiring dossier. I’m wondering if it would be ethically proper to have the L33T translated into standard English, or if that constitutes a misrepresentation both of my own students’ communication styles and of my ability as a teacher.
        But I think this whole “OMG WTF BBQ L33T!” contretemps indicates that we cannot assume anyone understands this sort of thing for what it is.
        Back to our regularly scheduled insanity. Gosh, El Jay User Substitute, you’ve had a problem lately with the protagonists of your various critical posts swooping down into the comments and embarrassing themselves. Entertaining as it is, I have to wonder if it doesn’t somehow invalidate the premise that it is a wonderful thing that the Internet can connect us all to one another.


      2. Don’t blame me, I voted for President E.B. White
        The recently discovered law that all New Yorker cartoons can be captioned “Christ, what an asshole” can now be applied to the New Yorker cartoon with the caption “on the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.”


    2. Dr. Shankle,
      Thank you for bringing this distressing three month-old post back to light. If I may “rap” leet-speak at you for confidentiality’s sake, I think that FDFOV, lol, and when R33k also EDWA SPLOP yukyukyuk, O RLY? And ultimately STFU. But you understand.
      Jack Mehoff, HNIC


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