Popular internet slang words change quickly, making it difficult to keep up. However, if parents want to stay ITK - that is, in the know - about what their children are talking about online, they must learn their language.
Internet slang frequently takes one of three forms:
- Replacing words with similar-sounding characters, such as 'are' becoming R or 'too' becoming 2.
- Acronyms are words formed by combining the first letter of several words, such as 'lol' for 'laughing out loud.'
- Abbreviations are letters that are removed from words to make them shorter (usually to save keystrokes or to stay within character limits), such as using 'tho' instead of 'though'.
However, because of the influence of music, the internet, apps, social media, celebrities, and regional vernacular, seemingly random words can appear out of nowhere (and disappear just as quickly). While some slang words are harmless, others may concern parents, with some being used to discuss topics such as sex, drugs, mental health, and eating disorders. You might be wondering what does nfs mean on Instagram or other social media platforms, but in this overview, we will look at various types of internet slang to decipher what teens and tweens are saying online.
Internet lingo that is amusing or harmless
A lot of teen slang is harmless or enjoyable, offering teens a sense of independence or individuality when using it. Some of the more innocent or amusing expressions are:
- BFF – best friends forever
- Boujee (or bouji) – rich or acting rich
- BRB – be right back
- Bruh –nickname for 'bro.'
- BTW – by the way
- Dead – very funny
- Deets – details
- Dope – excellent or of high quality
- DWBH – don't worry, be happy
- Extra – acting in an excessive or dramatic manner
- Fam – family or friends
- Fire – incredible or amazing
- FOMO – fear of missing out
- GOAT – greatest of all time
- Gucci – good, going well, cool
- Hundo – short for a 100%
- IRL – in real life
- LMAO – laughing my *ss off
- Lit – cool or awesome
- Mood – when you have relatable feelings or experience
- MYOB – mind your own business
- NGL – not gonna lie
- Noob – someone who is new or bad at doing something
- OG – original
- OMG – oh my god or oh my gosh
- Tea – gossip, story, news
- TBH – to be honest
- Salty –angry or bothered
- Shook – Something has shaken or affected you.
- Skurt – to go away or leave
- SKSKSKSK – expressing delight
- Slay – being outstanding at something
- Snatched –being presentable or on point
- Sus – suspicious
- Yeet – exclamation of delight, approval, surprise, or general vigor
- YOLO – you only live once
- WDYM – what do you mean
- Woke – someone who is well-versed in social justice concerns
- WTF – what the f*ck
Internet jargon for parents to be aware of
Other common online lingo examples may be more alarming. They are not necessarily hazardous, but they may suggest that your adolescent is engaging in more mature behaviors that require your guidance as a parent or caregiver. Here are several examples:
- Addy – Short for 'Adderall,' a stimulant used to treat ADHD that can also be abused recreationally.
- AF – as f*ck (used to emphasize a point – e.g., 'thirsty af')
- ASL – age/sex/location
- Bae - romantic partner Short for "baby," or an abbreviation for "before anyone else."
- Basic - someone or anything seen as dull or conformist
- BF or GF – boyfriend or girlfriend
- Cap/no cap – A lie (or not a lie)
- Catfishing – pretending to be someone else by creating a phony social media or dating profile
- CD9 – code 9, short for parent nearby
- CU46 – see you for sex
- D – d*ck
- Down in the DM – Direct messaging someone on social media, usually with the intention of hooking up
- DTF – down to f*ck
- Finsta – a fake Instagram account
- Flaming – sending someone angry, unpleasant, or vulgar texts, either publicly or privately
- FWB – friends with benefits
- GFY – go f*ck yourself
- Ghost – to purposefully disregard someone
- GNOC – get naked on cam
- GYPO – get your pants off
- IWSN – I want sex now
- KMS – kill myself
- KYS – kill yourself
- KPC – keep parents clueless
- LMIRL – let's meet in real life
- Netflix' n' chill – Getting together ostensibly to watch movies, but more often than not to make out or hook up
- NIFOC – naked in front of computer
- NP4NP – naked picture for naked picture
- NSFW – not safe for work
- OC – open crib (parents are not home)
- PAW or PRW – parents are watching
- PIR – parents in room
- POS – parents over shoulder
- Pron – a means of saying 'porn' without alerting parents or being blocked by restrictive apps
- P911 – parents watching
- Ship – abbreviation for relationship.
- Smash – to have casual sex
- Snack – an attractive person (sometimes also spelled 'snacc')
- TDTM – talk dirty to me
- Thicc – having an attractive, curvy body
- Thirsty – attention-seeking
- Throw shade – saying something nasty about someone, often passive-aggressively
- WAP – wet *ss p*ssy
- WTTP – want to trade pictures
- X – ecstasy
- Xan – Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication that is occasionally abused recreationally.
- 53x – sex
- 8 – oral sex
- 9 – a parent is watching
- 420 – marijuana
Remember that internet lingo comes and goes, with terms coming out of nowhere and disappearing just as quickly. Expressions can easily become out of date or appear to be humiliating to use.
Hashtags that are problematic
It's important to be aware of hazardous hashtags in addition to internet language. On social media, teens might use coded or abbreviated hashtags to discuss drugs, suicide, mental health, and eating problems. They can band together with others discussing, and sometimes encouraging, the same themes by searching for the hashtag. Among the coded hashtags are:
- #anas – anorexics
- #cuts – self-harm
- #cu46 – see you for sex
- #deb – depression
- #ednos – eating disorder not otherwise specified
- #kush or #420 – Marijuana
- #mias – bulimics
- #sue – suicide
- #secretsociety123 – a group of people who commit non-suicidal self-harm
- #selfharmmm – themes like cutting and burning
- #svv – self-harm topics
- #tina – crystal meth
- #thinsp – thinspiration or thinspo
- #proana – pro-anorexia
- #promia – pro-bulimia
Fortunately, a warning pop-up appears when you search for many of these hashtags on Instagram. "Can we assist you?" it asks. Posts with the phrases or tags you're looking for frequently inspire harmful or even fatal behavior. We'd like to assist you if you're going through a difficult time."
How to Stay Ahead of Terminology Trends
Language evolves quickly, and it can be difficult to keep up. Understanding how your children communicate online is critical to keeping them safe from cyberbullies and online predators. You can stay current with trendy online terminology by doing the following:
- Save Urban Dictionary: This useful website provides definitions for slang terminology you may encounter on your child's social sites.
- Set up Google Alerts: Google allows you to set up news alerts for a term of your choice so that you receive an email each day with news articles related to that term. You might, for example, establish an 'online slang' or 'teen slang' alert and receive a list of articles about the current online slang without having to do weekly searches for what you could be missing.
- Talk to teachers or other parents: Open channels of contact with teachers and other parents or caregivers to stay engaged and updated about new online slang or terminology trends.
- Communicate with your children: Simply ask your teen or other teenagers you know to translate lingo you don't understand. Bringing up these terms with your child may be awkward, but it may also open the door to valuable talks.
If you are concerned about some of your child's online chats, consider the following:
Devices for monitoring: Examine your child's devices, the family computer, social media platforms, and instant messaging applications.
Talk about sexting: Sexting is the practice of sending sexually explicit images, videos, or messages over SMS or social media. Discuss with your teen the dangers of sexting and the potential consequences.
Establish limits while remaining approachable: Inform your children about acceptable and unacceptable online behavior. Let them know they may talk to you about any troubles they experience online.
Discuss online strangers: Discuss the emotional and physical risks of conversing with a stranger online, whether by instant messaging, sharing images or other information, or calling.
Talk about cyberbullying: Unfortunately, cyberbullying is rampant, so it's critical to talk about how to cope with online threats and bullies, as well as how to block or report them.
Limit your screen time: Limiting your teen's time on gadgets reduces danger and frees up time for other activities such as homework, spending time with friends and family, and getting a good night's sleep.
Configure parental controls: Set up parental restrictions on your shared devices to reduce potential risks. Kaspersky Safe Kids, for example, enables you to restrict access to adult websites and material, regulate access to inappropriate apps and games, and manage screen time by device.
Written by Frank Robertson
About the Author
My name is Frank Robertson. I’m a writer. I choose my topics carefully and try to write about topics that can help my readers. Connect with me on Twitter.
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