If your child uses email, chat rooms, or IM's, you've likely seen them communicate in what may seem like a secret code of acronyms and symbols. It may seem innocent, and for some it is, but there is also a more sinister side of this online lingo. Tonight we help you decode your child's chat to ensure they're safe online.
11-Year old Rebekah loves to Instant Message with her friends. Kids have an acronym for almost every expression. BRB is be right back. LOL is laugh out loud. JK, just kidding. POS: Parent Over Shoulder. The list goes on and on. Kids are fluent. And unfortunately, so are many online predators.
"LOL laughing out loud--that's the cute one, but what about LMIRL, let's meet in real life--that brings terror to my heart."
So much terror that her agency launched an awareness campaign spelling out the dark side of online acronyms. A language you may not be able to translate when an online predator is using it to lure your child.
Detective Harold Eisenman works in the Palm Beach County Sheriff's internet crimes unit. He looks nothing like a 12-year old girl.
"I'm only 12."
But sounds just like one when he tries to smoke out pedophilles in chat rooms.
"Like, totally rad."
Today his online name is claudiawpb12. One of the first questions adults ask kids. A-S-L.? Age, sex location.
"Am I too young for you?"
Posing as a 12 year old you might expect he'd get few, if any bites. We witnessed a feeding frenzy. Adult men, lots of them, eager to chat privately with a child.
"And see the list grows. It just keeps growing."
Men asking questions no child should be asked.
"There's nowhere safe. These predators believe they are anonymous."
And many like to disguise their sinister motives behind lingo most parents can't translate.
"These acronyms are very difficult to keep up with. And they seem to constantly change."
Rebekah's mother won't allow her in chat rooms or let her talk with anyone she doesn't know and makes it clear that
"PAW." Parents are watching.