So I'm settling in for the evening with my family, and I get a text message. I'll protect the sender's identification... for reasons you'll find quickly.
404452???? : Ask mariel wat was the home work in math
I didn't know the sender, I don't have homework, and I certainly didn't know any Mariel. I figured I might as well try and figure out the real scoop here.
Me : wat?
Apparently this was interpreted as "type that again" rather than "what in the world are you talking about?"
404452???? : Ask mariel wat our home work was in math 2day i 4got
At this point, I'm starting to get curious. I wonder what age kids start getting math homework--and cell phones.
Me: Where r u?
I didn't expect a town name, needless to say.
404452???? : Home
Whew, good answer. I suddenly realized that asking any more details on the whereabouts and such of a minor would probably land me in a very bad situation.
The minds of the clueless are so much fun to mess with though; let's see if we can turn this into a learning opportunity! Jessica and I briefly considering sending "OMG CALL THE COPS MARIAL SHOT ME" or something similarly disasterous, but figured that's probably a bit too far. What about "Mariel sayz no homework, it's been canceled tonight"... naw...
Me: Marial is totaaly freking out about sumthin, hold on.
404452???? : O ok
At this point some more evil ideas: "Mariel says she h8s you now, wats with dat?" "Mariel says drop dead." Naw, crossing that line again...
Me: U better call marial u got the right numbr?
Uh oh, I thought. I hope they know better than to text me with someone else's phone number...
404452???? : I dnt have her number at All
Ah, OK. now let's see if we can cause some ed-u-ma-cation...
Me: Well how did u get mine?
Between the lines: "because it's pretty obvious you didn't get by replying to a text from me!"
404452???? : U gave it 2 me
Now, let's find out who I am. It's good to keep tabs on all one's alter egos.
Me: Oh? R u reaaly sure about that? U might wanna check the nmbersagain... Who u think I am?
Fully expected a snarky answer here, but got a fact instead.
404452???? : Darrin
Eep. Well, at least I'm a guy. I still don't know the sender yet--but that's a good thing security-wise.
Me: Fail! U gdt the wrong number. I've been messin with u a bit. Better call Darrin after u check the numbr.
At this point, I thought it was a done deal.
404452???? : O who Dis
Here, I quit texting. I could have become "Darrin's cousin pulling a prank" and really gotten someone (me) into some trouble. As it is, my phone number will now be showing up on someone else's bill.
But think about it.
- Do you let your kids text?
- Do you review the bill in detail?
- Do you verify the numbers?
- Who do your kids text--intentionally or otherwise?
Unlike a wrong phone number--where you know instantly you've misdialed--a wrongly targeted text message may cause a significantly different situation.
I like to watch America's Most Wanted. I certainly don't want to participate in it.
Just something to ponder.