Texter’s Block

Sean Adams introduces a new parental control that prevents your teen from vicious new spin-offs of sexting.


Listen. Do you hear that tapping? That’s the sound of your teenager sending a text message. As a parent, this is your worst nightmare because you have no idea what terrible choices your teenage could be making in 160 characters or less. Now you can block sexting, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. There are other, equally harmful texts sent from under your roof everyday, and there is no way to stop them… UNTIL NOW! That’s right, here at The Center for Word Control, we have developed software to block more than just sexting. Here are just a few kinds of messages that our new system will blast into digital smithereens:

FLEXTING: Your teenage son shows great work ethic at the gym, and he should be proud of his physique. But sending six to ten texts to his girlfriend every night saying things like “m i @ a c-food restaurant?? cause there sure r a lotta muscles round here!” is boastful. Guess what: no matter how much he can bench press, he won’t be able to break through our firewall!
TEX-MEXTING: Your kids seem out-of-it, fatigued, unable to string together words into comprehendible sentences. They sit on the couch, eyes barely open, content to watch game shows for hours. Stoned out on Marijuana? No! Worse! They’re filled to the brim with meat and cheese! Well, with our system, your kids won’t be able to waste an entire day by “hollering” at their “boys” for “a cupple a dee-lish n-chilladaz” or “rocking” enough “case-o fryz” to give them a heart attack.

ANNEXTING: After learning about Tibet in history class, your teen may begin using the word “annex” without fully understanding its meaning. This may seem innocent enough at first — texting friends, saying things like “feet need to annex some shoes then im on my way ovr” — but it can have very serious repercussions. Imagine your daughter telling a college admissions counselor that she would like to “annex the campus for a night” before making her decision. We’ll help you nip this poor habit in the bud!

T-REXTING: Your boy’s seventeen. Unless he’s secured a full ride to an Ivy League paleontology program, he’s too old to be obsessed with dinosaurs. It’s time for him to grow up and stop embarrassing himself. We’re lucky these God-forsaken creatures don’t roam the earth anymore. Let’s make sure they stop roaming the digital airwaves as well!

HEXTING: Text messages riddled with curse words may seem bad enough, but they pale in comparison to text messages that are actual curses. Think of the guilt that you would feel if all of your neighbors’ pets suddenly up and died because your boy was feeling angsty and decided to practice some dark arts on his smartphone’s touch screen. Say “abracadabra” and we’ll make those nasty texts disappear before they claim a victim!

SUBTEXTING: Teenagers are creative and defiant by nature. If you set a few simple filters, they’ll figure out which words and phrases are blocked, and they’ll find new ways to say the same thing. Luckily, here at Grapple we’re a step ahead of today’s youth. We can set up a process that forwards all outgoing texts (not already obliterated by the above-mentioned filters) to you for approval. It may seem drastic, but consider this: when your daughter messages her boyfriend asking “r u pitching in the game this weekend?” is she talking about baseball or trying to get him to pitch in some money so they can buy heroin and burn down an arcade? We don’t know the answer. But if we were her father, we’d prefer to read into it before she hits send, rather than read about it in tomorrow’s paper.

Sean Adams lives in Seattle, where he works as a staff writer for Woot.com. His stuff has been published on McSweeney’s, The Morning News, and elsewhere in print and online.