Attention parents of preteens: your child may be on Facebook!
While the popular social networking site’s official policy prohibits children under the age of 13 from registering, studies show that preteens are nevertheless finding clever ways to cheat the system and create illicit profiles. As a parent, it is your duty to carefully monitor your preteen’s Facebook activity until they have reached the age of 13. (Once they have turned 13, your child will possess the maturity and wisdom needed to use the site safely and independently, and the matter will no longer be of your concern.)
Here’s what you need to know: preteens on Facebook use a lot of acronyms. Once you learn the acronyms, you’ll know exactly what kind of debauchery your child is getting into, and you can take appropriate action. Find a strategic vantage point from where you can see your young one’s computer screen—preferably hiding under the bed in an old Halloween costume or using a complex system of mirrors from the crawl space—and keep your eyes peeled for these usual suspects:
This commonly used acronym most often means “Be Right Back” or “Bath Room Break.” Be aware that, to a slightly lesser extent, preteens have also been known to use “BRB” to mean “British Railways Board,” “Biweekly Rate Booklet,” or “Buried Ruins of Bacaba.” In any case, the use of this particular acronym is usually no cause for alarm.
The acronym “LMIRL” stands for “Let’s Meet In Real Life.” This situation is every parent’s worst nightmare, for it can be assumed that the person who wants to meet your preteen is either a middle-aged sexual predator with a thinning pony tail or a peer with substandard social skills. In either scenario, your preteen’s reputation is at stake. To prevent your child from meeting this degenerate in real life, ground them indefinitely.
“PIR” stands for “Parent In Room.” If your preteen types “PIR” to a Facebook friend, you need to act fast. Begin by making loud, violent growling and barking noises from your crawl space/under-bed hiding spot. Continue making these noises until your child becomes terrified and runs out of the room, most likely to seek your comfort. At this point, you can dampen your hair, change into a robe, and locate your child. Announce with nonchalance that you’ve “just hopped out of the shower,” and casually ask “Who wants some ice cream?” This should assuage any suspicion your preteen may have had, and once things have settled down, you can return to your hiding spot.
“SPMTCDNA”–or “Scary Parent Making Those Creepy Dog Noises Again”—is an acronym that preteens will sometimes use if they have discovered that a parent is using the method above every time they type “PIR.” This is a worst case scenario! If you have a smoke bomb or tranquilizer gun, now is the time to use it. Proceed to create as much immediate chaos and confusion as possible so that your preteen begins to think that they have gone insane. Have a friend pose as scary doctor and explain to your child that he or she has actually been dreaming this whole time, and they are in fact asleep right now. Once your preteen is on board with their new reality, convince them that they must go to sleep in order to “wake up.” Your preteen will eventually pass out from exhaustion; when they awake, it is imperative that you act as if nothing has happened. Casually ask, “Who’s up for some pizza?” Once things have settled down, you can return to your hiding spot.
Charlie Nadler lives and works in Chicago. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Gizmodo, Yankee Pot Roastand various other places. He plays in a band called Blane Fonda and he can be found on the internet here.
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