Groups of numbers and letters - such as 420 or NIFOC may look innocuous when mixed in with the likes of BRB.
But they actually mean marijuana and “nude in front of the computer” (respectively) and are on a list of text codes given to Youth Offending Team staff in Waltham Forest by the police.
The HM Inspectorate of Probation, which reports on work with children, young people and adults who have committed a criminal offence, has emphasised the importance of adults, including parents and youth justice workers, keeping up with and understanding the social media codes used by young people, as:
“The sexual nature of some communication may not be apparent to a parent
or other adult viewing the content because of the abbreviations used.”
The list below includes examples of the codes used to communicate via text or other messaging services.
The codes are contained in a report called The Work of Youth Offending Teams to Protect the Public, which looked at how youth justice workers can be better trained to understand young offenders.
If you are concerned about your child’s interactions on social media, Barnardo’s has recently published guidance on ways parents and carers can help keep their children safe online.