For many parents, trying to decipher messages texted to them by their teenager can be frankly bewildering.
Anyone know what B4N, LOL or CYL mean for example? Well for those not in the know, that’s Bye for now, Laughing out loud, and See you later.
But while text speak seems to come naturally to the younger generation, for others it can be bewildering, seeming almost like a foreign language.
And that’s where new app the TextGenie comes in to bridge the communication gap between parents and their offspring.
Created by DCML, TextGenie is designed to translate text language and slag from the messages that come to your inbox, transforming texts into the Queen’s English so you can understand what your teen is trying to say and reply to them.
Available on Android phones for just 89p, the app works by examining a catalogue of 1,500 abbreviations. If there are particular words and phrases that you notice your child using a lot, then you can also add those to your own database – once you’ve figured out what they mean to say, of course.
The new app comes after recent research by the Pew Internet and American Life Project which revealed that two thirds of teens send text messages to friends and family every single day, compared with just under 40 per cent who use their mobile phones to make calls.
This was backed up by similar research by British telecoms regulator Ofcom. The findings showed the number of fixed-line calls was continuing to slump.
But for the first time, after years and years of sharp rises, the number of mobile phone calls also fell, from 125bn minutes to 124bn minutes. In contrast, more than 150bn texts were sent in 2011, compared with 50bn five years ago.
DCML says it came up with the concept for TextGenie after carrying out its own research which found that 84 per cent of parents who have teenagers said they had received text messages from their children which they simply could not understand.
The app is a step up from a number of online text speak translators which have sprung up, including one by the telephone company TalkTalk, which tells users what popular texts including BRB (be right back) and BTW (by the way) mean. With TextGenie, the work is done for you.
The firm’s director Nick Flaherty, said: “As a parent of a teenager myself, admittedly conversation is more grunts and monosyllabic at the best of times but, at least, TextGenie goes some way to helping in the area where the youngsters are more likely to communicate.”
Being billed as the way to surprise your children with your knowledge of text speak, TextGenie is described on its website as: “Sometimes rude, often cheeky, but mostly fun and practical, the translations will help you stay one step ahead of the younger generation.”
The app is a bit of a departure for DCML which usually designs and creates software for the motor industry.