Short Messaging: What Your Teenager is Trying to Tell You in Text

In 1996 I went to work as a Sales Manager for the only carrier in the USA to use a technology in wireless communications called “GSM” or Global System for Mobile Communication. Used in Europe and Asia for many years, it was the new “Cellular” of the future called Personal Communications Services – PCS for short. I was promised that the customers of this “new” technology would be stunned with all the new features. It was going to revolutionize the way we used our cellular phones. The phones would be smaller, sleeker and the features & services were infinite. The first thing I learned to do was called Short Messaging Service – SMS for short. I was able to send a 140-160 character message to all my sales people at one time, eliminating the need for a phone call, conference call or impromptu meeting. I had a software program I could load onto my notebook computer and make multiple groups of names for my SMS address book. The messages were sent directly to their PCS phones, with their phone numbers as the address. It was liberating. That was before any carrier charged a fee for an SMS. It was a new concept that had not caught on quickly in the United States. It took some carriers longer to start offering text messaging because of the technology they were using. The GSM carriers had text messaging since about 1991 in Europe and Asia and from 1996 in the USA. The other carriers were using competitive technologies (you might hear it termed CDMA or TDMA) and so were a little later to offer what the GSM carriers had been allowing (one of the downsides to competing technologies). Fast forward ten years:

Today, the youth of the world have embraced the SMS feature of wireless technology with passion and gusto. Wireless companies had recognized the upswing in usage as messages began to flow through their networks. They quickly learned they needed to capitalize on a service they thought was going to be unnoticed and unused. They began to charge for the service. Parents soon realized that when their children are not fighting or talking, but rather just sitting quietly, mesmerized by the screen on their wireless communications device with their thumbs and fingers flying across the keyboards, money was flying equally as fast through the air from their pockets to their cellular/wireless provider. Five hundred short messages (incoming and outgoing combined) was a not uncommon inclusion in wireless plans. Teenagers, however, can send and receive that many messages in a day’s time. And with a charge of 10 cents per message over and above whatever number is allowed in your wireless plan, your bill can add up fast when a phone is left in the hands of your teen.

Please note: the examples listed here are current only for the time this article is being written. Plans can and do change. The carriers’ websites and, if available, 800 numbers are listed in a sidebar to this article so you can check what plans are being offered currently when you are reading this article.

So wireless carriers began to offer text-messaging plans to their customers. As an example, T-Mobile USA offers three plans for text messaging. You can get 400 messages for $4.99/month, 1000 messages for $9.99 per month or for $14.99 per month you can send and receive as many messages as you want – totally unlimited messaging. And in the day of camera phones, that includes sending text, instant messages, pictures or video. If you choose a plan that has a limited number of text messages, however, you need to remember that it is ten cents per message whenever you go over the number you have chosen.


Any 400 Messages $4.99 per month Any 1000 Messages $9.99 per month Unlimited Messages $14.99 per month

Today other wireless providers are also offering short messaging services. As an example, Cingular offers 50 text/instant messages for $2.99/month, 200 for $4.99/month, 1000 for $9.99/month, 2500 for $19.99/month and a Pay-Per-Use plan at ten cents (10 cents) per message.


Text Only

Package Charge Messages Included Overage Rate Text/Instant Messaging 50 $2.99 per month 50 $0.10 per message Text/Instant Messaging 200 $4.99 per month 200 $0.10 per message Text/Instant Messaging 1000 $9.99 per month 1000 $0.05 per message Text/Instant Messaging 2500 $19.99 per month 2500 $0.03 per message Text/Instant Messaging Pay-Per-Use $0.00 per month 0 $0.10 per message

However with Cingular, if you want to send those videos and pictures as well, you need the “MEdia Bundle”.

MEdia Bundles:
� Send and receive text messages.
� Surf the wireless Internet.
� Send photos.
â�¢ Download ringtones, graphics, and games. (Additional charges based on total data measured in kilobytes).�¯�¿�½

Bundle MEdia Basic MEdia Works Charge $9.99 per month $19.99 per month Text/Instant Messages Included 200 1000
Additional Text/Instant Messages $0.10 per message $0.05 per message Multimedia Messages Included 40 Unlimited Additional Multimedia Messages $0.20 per message N/A MEdia Net 1 MB 5 MB Additional MEdia Net $0.01 per KB $0.01 per KB Basic Cingular Video NA NA

Verizon was a little more challenging to find on their website as they wanted a lot of information about the consumer before letting you see their plans. However, I managed to find the text messaging area after allowing them to set cookies on my computer.�¯�¿�½

VERIZON ( (iN is defined as “in network”)

The perfect bundle. In addition to Unlimited IN Messaging, you can choose a bundle that gives you the right amount of messages to those outside the network.

* Applies when sending and receiving instant messages, TXT Alerts, emails

So now that you have purchased the appropriate package for your teens to use and not drive you into bankruptcy, what are the short messaging symbols you see your teenagers using? Here is a short list of symbols and their meanings:

AFO Adult Fan OfâÂ?¦.. AIM AOL Ã?® Instant Messanger ASAP As Soon As Possible AFAIK As Far As I Know ATM At The Moment AWHFY Are We Having Fun Yet? A3 Anytime, Anywhere, Any Place ATW At The Weekend ASL Age, Sex, Location B Bye B4 Before BBFN Bye-Bye For Now BG Big Grin BRB Be Right Back BBS Be Back Soon BYO Bring Your Own BBL Be Back Later BCNU Be Seeing You BRT Be Right There BTW By The Way BION Believe It Or Not BOL Best of Luck BOT Back On Topic CMON Come On CU See You CUL8R See You Later CUS See You Soon CUL8RK See You Later, Okay? CUZ Because DDG Drop-Dead Gorgeous EA e-Mail Alert ETA Estimated Time of Arrival Flame(s) Negative or derogatory email or chatting FYI For Your Information F2F Face To Face FCFS First Come, First Served FC Fingers Crossed FOAF Friend Of A Friend FWIW For What It’s Worth GTG Got To Go GG Good Game GAL Get A Life GR8 Great GSOH Good Sense of Humor H2CUS Hope To See You Soon ICQ I seek you or ICQÃ?®instant messaging service IC I See IGU I Give Up IMO In My Opinion IMHO In My Humble Opinion IRT In Regards IDK I Don’t Know IOU I Owe You JAM Just A Minute JIT Just In Time JJ Just Joking JK Just Kidding K Okay KISS Keep It Simple Stupid L8R Later LOL Laughing Out Loud LMHO Laughing My Head Off Lurk To Hang Out In The Background M Am M8 Mate, boy or girl friend N An, And NA Not Acceptable/Applicable NE Any NOS New Old Stock O Oh OIC Oh, I see POV Point of View PS Post Script QR Quick Response R Are ROFL Rolling On Floor Laughing ROTFL Rolling on the Floor ROTFLOL Rolling on the Floor Laughing Out Loud RUOK Are You Okay? SMS Short Message Service (email or other message) SPAM Unwanted email or chat content SRO Standing Room Only SUP What’s Up? TX Thanks THX Thanks TOM Tomorrow TTYL Talk To You Later W4U Waiting For You W8 Wait WTG Way To Go WYSIWYG What You See Is What You Get 1 One, Won, Want 2 To, Too 2D4 To Die For 2G4U Too Good For You 2L8 Too Late 4VR Forever 4E Forever 4YEO For Your Eyes Only 4YIsO For Your Eyes Only 8 Ate U You U2 You, Too Y Why Yer Your, You’re IOW In Other Words

Common Phrases:�¯�¿�½

YT (Are) You There? I12CU I Want To See You
CUL8RK? See You Later, Okay? 10S NE1 Tennis, Anyone?

Then there are “Emoticons” :Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

: ) Happy face for humor, laughter, friendliness, sarcasm�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½
: D Super happy/toothy smile, broad smile, etc.�¯�¿�½
:- )�¯�¿�½ Happy face with nose smiling
: ( Sad face for sadness, anger, upset 😉 Wink
:- ( Sad or frowning with a nose�¯�¿�½
😉 Winking with Nose
:-< Super Sad�¯�¿�½
:-0 Yell or Gasp
:/ Wry Face�¯�¿�½
😛 Tongue out for just kidding
:* A Kiss ((hug)) A Hug
ALL CAPS yelling
:’-) Tears Due To LaughterÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½
@>-;- Rose
😡 Kiss on the LipsÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½
0*-) I’m an Angel (female)
>-) Evil Grin�¯�¿�½
0:- ) I’m An Angel (Male)
😎 Cool with sunglassesÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½
:-! Foot In Mouth
:-@ Scream, What!?�¯�¿�½
:- )8 Smiling with Bow Tie
%-( Confused�¯�¿�½
I-0 Yawn
: – ( Liar, with long noseÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½
:- (0) Shouting
:-0zzz Bored
😐 Determined
:-() Talking�¯�¿�½
#:-) Hair is a mess
%-) Cross-eyed�¯�¿�½
@@ Eyes
:’-( CryingÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½
&:-) Hair is curly
|@@| Face�¯�¿�½
$-) Yuppie
;b Tongue out with a wink�¯�¿�½
:-& Tongue tied
-!- Sleepy�¯�¿�½
:-($) Put your money where your mouth is�¯�¿�½
:b Tongue out

I found these online through search engines and as such is by no means an exhaustive list of the symbols used today. They will give you a start in “texting” with others or in knowing and understanding what your teenage child may be saying to you. Mostly I think they are trying to tell you they want you to :-($)âÂ?¦but I might be wrong. :- )Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

So now that you are :-0zzz, go talk to your teen. Explain you are getting them the best plan for your budget and remind them that :’-( will not do them any good if they go over the allotted text messaging and your bill goes outta sight. GTGâÂ?¦. CUL8RK?

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