Hopefully you've found this rant by Googling for such a guide. Hopefully you clicked on this instead of one of the other ones, because the others, as stated, contain more pure shit than a port-a-potty.
What makes me better than them? Well, I'm a member and volunteer employee with the National Youth Rights Association. Nevermind what it's about right now, the politics don't matter in the context of this rant. The point is that NYRA is made up of mostly teenagers. Those few of us there who are adults have a great deal of online interaction with those kids, not only in the capacity of the Org, but also as friends. Hell, nearly every friend I have on the Internet is a teenager! This makes me way better than those other dumbasses who pretend to know what kids are up to online and then write articles about it to bamboozle you. Unlike them, I don't interact with these kids as "An adult talking to kids." I interact with them as an equal talking to other equals. As a result, it often feels like I've been shot 15 years into the past and am still in high school. I quite enjoy it! At any rate, my point is that getting your information from me is like getting it from a teenager. Imagine if you could get a teenager to actually tell you the truth about the shit they think, say, and do. That'd be cool right? Well, it'll never happen for you because you're their parents and you'd burn them at the stake if you heard like 2% of the shit I hear from 'em. Me? I'm just an online friend who has no power over them and wouldn't excersize it if I did.
Now that we've established that I know what the fuck I'm talking about and other idiots don't, let's jump into this.
First off, I'd like to dispell the myths that those other websites have spread. This is vital shit that you need to know so that you're not freaked the fuck out by those other dickheads. Here we go.
Fact: There is no such abbreviation as "POS" which means "Parents Over Shoulder." Every single "guide for parents" about the Internet has this fucking STUPID advice to parents that if you walk into the room and your kid types "POS" on the screen, he's saying "parents over shoulder" to let the other people in the chat room know that his parents are there.
This is complete and utter BULLSHIT! There *is* a netspeak abbreviation "POS" and it means "piece of shit." As in "My computer just crashed again, I hate this POS!" If you walk into the room and your kid typed "POS" he was probably already in the process of complaining about something shitty and/or insulting someone else in the room by calling him a piece of shit.
If you walk into the room and your kids are doing something online that they don't want you to see, they're not gonna just sit there and keep the window open like big fuckin' retards! They have 2 very good options that take less than 1 second each to execute:
They can either minimize the window (put it down so that it's just a button on that little bar that runs across the bottom of the screen instead of a window that you can see the contents of) or they'll just fucking CLOSE the window (make it disappear). And if they're looking at something shady, lemme tell ya, they've got that fuckin' mouse arrow hovering right over the Close button! You're not gonna catch 'em and they know it. They have no need of a "POS" codeword, cuz they're not gonna continue a private conversation at all with you standing right there watching. Would you?
Furthermore, if "POS" really did mean "parents over shoulder" then typing it into a chat room would be pretty much the stupidest thing a kid could do. As soon as they sent that "POS" then every asshole in the room is gonna think it's absolutely hilarious to see how much trouble they can get your kid in. Sending "my parents are watching right now, please don't say anything to get me in trouble!" would be met with a slew of shit to get your kid in trouble! It would go like this:
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why NO teenager (or anyone else who is a citizen of the online world) would even entertain the notion of letting people in a chat room know that their parents are standing right there! Think about it... If you were chatting online at work and your boss was suddenly right over your shoulder, would you tell your crazy ass friends that he's standing there? Don't you have friends who'd fuck with you if you told them that? Well, your kids have friends like that too.
Fact: There is no abbreviation "LMIRL" which means "Let's meet in real life." There is no such abbreviation. Not at all. This is ENTIRELY made up by idiots. I don't know why they made it up, but someone did and everyone else bought it. If kids (or anybody else) wanted to talk about meeting someone in real life, they'd just fucking say "hey, ya wanna meet up IRL?" Yes, "IRL" actually is a real abbreviation for "in real life." That's the only part of "lmirl" that's real. There's no abbreviation for asking someone to meet up. Why not? Well, because only commonly used things ever get abbreviation (duh). It's very VERY rare to talk about meeting online friends in real life. Which brings us to our next topic...
Fact: MySpace, Facebook, LifeJournal, and other "social networking sites" are not dangerous and are not routinely patrolled by perverts looking to fuck your kid. As of September 8, 2006 MySpace.com had over 106 million users. Out of those, there've been maybe 4 or 5 cases of an adult "luring" a "child" to him via MySpace. I quote those words sarcastically because, in reality, all of those cases have been instances of a teenage girl wanting to run away from home and finding an adult man stupid enough to take her in because she makes lewd insinuations. At any rate, even if these were "kidnappings" in the traditional sense, that's 5 kids out of 106,000,000. What that means, in layman's terms, are that your kid's chances of being kidnapped on MySpace are 0.00000471698%. Compare that with some other kidnapping stats and you'll quickly discover that your son or daughter is safer on MySpace than in your own back yard!
Actually that percentage I gave is just a simplified form of the actual number. The actual percentage is:
In other words, your kid stands an astronomically small chance of coming to harm on MySpace! I didn't come up with those numbers. I suck at math. My friend Rich, who is an electrical engineer and a math god came up with that percetage for me. Thanks, Rich!
Fact: Censorware and other various tools meant to keep your kids from seeing things you don't want them to see, do not work. There is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent your kid from seeing porn. Little boys have been looking at dirty magazines for as long as they've been around and little boys will be looking at porn on the Internet now, regardless of your efforts. Society hasn't collapsed yet. Get the fuck over it.
It comes right down to this: Your kids know more than you when it comes to the world of technology. That's just the way it is. Now, they'll probably have a leg up on their children, but that's a matter for the next generation. If you're thinking that's bullshit and you know all about the Internet and "blah blah blah I've been in IT for 25 years etc. etc." then fucking great for you, but if this rant taught you something new, then guess what asshole, you don't know shit about the Internet. All the parental blocking software in the world isn't gonna stop your kids from finding whatever the fuck they wanna find. There are a million ways around all that crap.
So what's the solution then? How do you protect your kids from all the bad things online? You don't. Parents have been trying for a thousand generations to protect their children from the evils of the world (whatever you may believe those to be) and after all this time parents still keep trying. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. You can't protect your kids from the knowledge of "evil." It's impossible. What you CAN do, however, is be the first to expose your kids to all the things you fear. Tell them about pornography, tell them about chatroom perverts, tell them about all the things you fear them running into. And then tell them how to deal with those things rather than letting them just figure it out for themselves when they circumvent every "protection" (read: "challenge to be overcome") you put in their way. You do your children a great disservice by expecting them to stay ignorant, forcing them to stay ignorant, pretending they're still ignorant, and letting that ignorance be taken away by the citizens of the online world instead of by YOU, their parents, whose job it is to dispell ignorance in the first place!
Now, I started off this rant telling you about shit that's NOT true as far as netspeak, so it's only fair if I take the time to give you a few examples of real netspeak and net-related abbreviations. Seems like a waste of time to me, but whatever, here ya go.
LOL = Laughing Out Loud
LMAO = Laughing My Ass Off
ROFL = Rolling On the Floor Laughing
ROFLMAO = combiation of ROFL and LMAO
OMG = Oh My God!
OMFG = Oh My Fucking God!
BRB = Be Right Back
BBL = Be Back Later
AFK = Away From Keyboard
WTF = What The Fuck
b/f or g/f = boyfriend or girlfriend
b/c = because
IDK = I Don't Know
ur = you're or your
ppl = people
g2g = Got to Go
cya (l8tr) = See ya (later)
ttyl = talk to ya later
And now a short lesson in "leet speak." For some ungodly reason, people online like to bastardize words and combine them with numbers and other characters. I don't know why this is, but it is. For example: 1 4m 74|k1ng n teh 1337 $p34k is "I am talking in the leet speak." For people who're very proficient at this, you (parents) won't have a fucking clue what the hell they're saying. They could be making drug deals right in front of your face and you'd never know. "OMFG, u n33d 2 g37 m3 $0m3 0v teh <r4<k r0<k leik n0\/\/!!1!!111" You have any idea what I just said? If you're old, probably not. Unless you're a loser like me who hangs out with teenagers on the Internet, that won't make much sense to an adult.
There's no easy translation for this. I'd teach it to you if I could, but... well, I just can't. Netspeak, especially 1337 ("leet") is an entirely made up language with no real rules, no grammar, no structure, no direct translation, and not even a standard way of spelling things. You just have to learn it from experience. I've only just given you the tip of the iceberg here in this rant, so don't think you're fucking clever if you were able to backwards engineer what I said after I gave you the real meaning. j00 will NEVAR git teh 1337 $p34k, f4g!!11!!!
Fact: This rant is now over. i no ur sad 2 c me go.. Eh-hmm... I know you're sad to see me go, but it's that time. I hope I've helped to educate you to the fact that you're no more capable of understanding or controlling your kids lives on the Internet than your parents were able to understand and control the shit you did down at the malt shop or wherever the fuck you hung out.
It all comes down to one simple question: Have you raised your children well? If you did, then prepare them for the "dangers" you're worried about online and then jump the fuck off their backs about it! If you didn't, then it's too late to start now, dumbass. Your kids don't want you in their social life and, honestly, you don't have any business being there. They're either good kids or they're not. You either trust them or you don't. That's it.