Division of Criminal Justice Services

Missing Persons Clearinghouse
1-800-FIND-KID (1-800-346-3543)

Guidelines For Parents - eLanguage

Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page take you to other websites. They are intended to be helpful, but should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any other site unless specifically indicated. The Division of Criminal Justice Services does not sponsor, endorse or have any affiliation with these organizations.

eLanguage: Emoticons, Leetspeak, Acronyms and Abbreviations

Emoticons, acronyms, abbreviations and are used frequently and for any number of reasons, so it is important for parents to generally familiarize themselves with them. It is impossible however, to learn all of them.


An emoticon – or “emotion icon” - is a small icon composed of punctuation characters that indicates how a message should be interpreted (that is, the writer’s mood.) A few of the most common include:

:-) happy                :-( sad                  ;-) wink  

Many others can be viewed at:


“Leet” is a specific type of computer slang in which the writer replaces regular letters with other keyboard characters to form words phonetically. For example: Numbers are often used as letters. The term "leet" could be written as "1337," with "1" replacing the letter L, "3" posing as a backwards letter E, and "7" resembling the letter T. Non-alphabet characters can be used to replace the letters they resemble. For example, "5" or even "$" can replace the letter S.


There are a number of useful websites to find translations of hundreds of acronyms or abbreviations that your kids may be using. Some examples are: