I t has been a tough week; but an eye opening one too. We are big on making time for our offspring. Even when you have a full time job and a side hustle, many of us try to make it to a school event or two. We also try to make it back home in time for dinner with the children or at least see them to bed or both.

We hope that this will help to ground the children and teach them the importance of family. I use this time to catch up with my boys and check if there are any habits they may have picked up from school that need to be addressed. So far there have not been any issues ---- until this week.

My sixth sense made me go through my younger boy’s phone. As I scrolled through his recent WhatsApp messages, I came across something that looked like gibberish. I ignored it and skipped to the rest of the messages. But the same gibberish was repeated. It did not take me long to realise that it was not gibberish at all. Rather it was different words written from back to front. And they were not nice words.

I was both amused and upset; amused at the code young people use to say what they want but upset about what they were using the great innovation for.

The code only applied to the words which they know are not good and which they hoped to disguise from nosy parents like me.

This is the first time something like this has happened so I was careful not to blow it out of proportion. I cannot help but wonder how we got here. In recent weeks I have been more out of home than in. Could that be the reason? Was he acting up?

I know it is not raging hormones confusing him and making him do things he knows he should not because I do not think he has reached that stage.

Does this mean I have to keep a keener eye on him and his brother? We talked about it and I could tell he was embarrassed but what I am not sure if it was because he was caught or because he did something he knew he should not. His elder brother was equally surprised about his behaviour.

And while I did not find anything untoward per se, I discovered that one of my older boy’s friends is not as well behaved as he has made us believe. I am sure his own parents will be shocked to know he uses the kind of language he does in voice notes.