“GNOC” on social media is not a random series of letters written by mistake. It is a sexual acronym that is used to harass children and adolescents on social networks, especially by other minors, so as not to be discovered if the conversation is intercepted by a third person. And it's not the only one. There are many more expressions of this type, such as CU46, GYPCO or CID. A new study by the online security and digital well-being platform for families, Qustodio, warns about the various abbreviations that are used among the new generations on digital platforms to encourage drug use or bullying.
“Bullying is not something new. It has simply changed scenery and is now on the internet. During the pandemic, our children began to face a new reality outside the classroom and bullying moved from schools and colleges to mobile phones, tablets and computers. Some parents have relaxed without seeing the dangers this could have”, explains the CEO of Qustodio, Eduardo Cruz. This year, three out of ten minors have received a message with sexual content through social networks, according to data from EU Kids Online and the National Institute of Cybersecurity of Spain (Incibe), who assure that the figures are increasing. But in addition, adolescent cyberbullying has mutated and from explicit expressions it has passed to coded messages that are generally not understood by the parents and guardians of the victims.
"In adolescence there is usually a bit of disengagement with parents and the problem comes when the type of things that are hidden can pose risks or unhealthy behaviors," explains Cruz, noting that the use of acronyms is intended to "hide the fathers and mothers certain aspects of their lives in the most 'safe' way without running the risk that they will understand something if they read their messages and risk being punished”. The encrypted message thus protects the perpetrator and weakens the victim, who knows the intention of the message despite its encryption.
According to Qustodio, there are various acronyms that depend on the theme. There are for sexual themes, others that refer to drugs and clandestine parties and others that are used in bullying. Practices such as sexting (formed by the words "sex" for "sex" and "texting" for "sending text messages") have made sexual content one of the main protagonists of minors' neologisms on social media. Qustodio details on its website that around 15% of adolescents have sent this type of message, approximately 27% have received some, and 75% of young people have practiced sexting on some occasion.
In addition to sex, these neologisms can also hide cases of cyberbullying. During the last year, despite the fact that children have spent less time in classrooms, bullying has increased by 70%. In this table, the most common acronyms detected by Qustodio:
|ACRONYM||MEANING IN ENGLISH)||TRANSLATION TO SPANISH|
|GNOC||Get naked on camera||Get naked in front of the camera|
|GYPO||Take your pants off||Take off your pants|
|SUGARPIC||(Request for a suggestive image, with “sugar” as a term related to sex and “pic” in relation to “picture” or image)||(Request for a suggestive image, with “sugar” as a term related to sex and “pic” in relation to “picture” or photography)|
|53X ó CU46||See (written with “c”) you for (with numeral 4) sex (with numeral 6)||see you for sex|
|1174||Meet in person at||See you to party|
|CID||Acid & drugs||acid and drugs|
|THOT, HOE, BOSH SBW y SLUB||Bitch||Fox|
Bullying among children is more common among boys than among girls. “There are numerous studies that affirm that, despite being fairly even, it is the boys who suffer the most, but also those who exercise it the most,” explains Cruz, who points out that many of those who suffer this type of harassment also do so because of their identity. or gender expression. "Then you have to attend to many factors that go beyond the simple fact of whether they are girls or boys," she stresses.
But sexual harassment is more common for them to suffer. The study The situation of violence against women in adolescence in Spain, carried out by the Ministry of Equality on a sample of 13,267 adolescents aged 14 to 20, details that 48% of young women have had to see images of a sexual nature that they did not want to and that almost 44% have been asked for sexual photographs while 17.3% acknowledge having suffered emotional abuse with insults or being ridiculed.
“You have to be consistent and aware that social networks do not cause children to become bullies. What must be done is to educate them in values and respect as well as in digital matters, establish routines and teach them to make good use of the Internet and social networks”, recommends Cruz. More than keeping children and adolescents away from screens —an unrealistic measure in an increasingly digital world— the key lies in good digital education and the tools that can be provided together with parents. “Harassment is not born because minors are on the Internet, so blaming new technologies would be a mistake. We have to educate them both in the offline and digital fields,” Cruz stresses.