*Teen slang decoder infographic below. After you read this post download our Free Parents Bundle – 4 free guides to help you protect your kids better!
Many parents have no idea of the growing need for them to become “bilingual” when communicating with their tweens and teens. “Teen Slang,” the complex group of acronyms, innuendos, and code words is used freely among teenagers and their peers. However, what happens when parents have no clue what their teenager just said? Many slang terms are relatively harmless in and of themselves, but certain terms should instantly put up red flags for parents. (Note: much more details inside our Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Parents, which can be found here.)
By learning our way around the tricky language of our teens we allow ourselves to not only build a stronger bond with them but also know when they’re in potential danger. Unfortunately, some slang is specifically designed to keep parents in the dark. In an interview with the popular morning news outlet, Today, some teens revealed important insider’s tips on what they’re actually saying.
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Fun and Harmless Teenage Slang
Teen slang allows our kids to communicate in a fun, interesting way among themselves. It gives them a sense of independence and individuality. This type of communication is often second nature and many teens don’t even notice the differences in their conversations. Some of the more harmless and funny expressions include terms such as:
- Bruh–A casual nickname for “bro”
- Fam–Their closest friends
- GOAT–Acronym for “Greatest of all time!”
- TBH–Acronym for “To be honest”
- It’s lit–Short for “It’s cool or awesome!”
- I’m weak–Short for “That was funny!”
- Hundo P–Short for 100% sure or certain
- Gucci–Something is good or cool
- Squad–Term for their friend group
Teen Slang Terms to Keep an Eye on
While many expressions are innocent and even hilarious some should catch our eye as parents. They are not necessary wrong, but they show that your teen may be involved in activities that require more maturity and advice from you as their parent. Many warning expressions involve dating or interest in new relationships. Some of these terms also reveal that your teen is experiencing some type of emotional turmoil or stress within their friendships or lifestyle. While you may not necessarily need to intervene, it’s always wise to at least be aware of what your teen is experiencing.
- Bae–Short for “baby.” It’s used as a term of endearment for a significant other such as a girlfriend or boyfriend. As an acronym, it stands for “Before Anyone Else.”
- Curve–To reject someone romantically
- Low Key–A warning that what they’re saying isn’t something they want everyone to know
- Salty–To be bitter about something or someone
- Skurt–To go away or leave
- Throw shade–To give someone a nasty look or say something unpleasant about them.
- Straight fire–Something is hot or trendy
- Sip tea–To mind your own business
As a parent, you are rightfully concerned or suspicious when your teenager becomes secretive. They may “talk” a lot, but at the same time avoid actually saying anything revealing. In dangerous or high-risk situations, slang can become a good hiding place for your teen. When terms such as these appear in hushed conversations with friends or on their phone, be alert to oncoming danger for your child. Some of these dangerous terms even appeared in a special news report for CNN.
- Thirsty–Being desperate for something
- Down in the DM–Short for plans in their social media or texts for an oncoming sexual hook-up
- Smash–To have casual sex
- Netflix ‘n Chill–To meet under the pretense of watching Netflix/TV together when actually planning to meet for “making out” or sex
- NIFOC–Acronym for “Naked in front of their computer”
- CU46–Acronym for “See you for sex”
- 9–Short for “A parent is watching!”
- GNOC–Acronym for “Get naked on camera!”
It’s rarely easily, but as parents, one of the most important ways to keep our teens safe is through consistent communication. Many horrible situations have evolved over the years in families where proper parent/teen communication was neglected. Although you may not always instantly understand everything your teen says, take the time to honestly ask them. Show your desire to understand and communicate. If all else fails, consult trusted sources or even slang dictionaries such as Urban Dictionary where many modern slang terms appear.
Sometimes there may be a reason where parents may want to limit or completely disable texting or calling. Apple does not provide a process to block either, although Netsanity does show parents how they can mirror iMessages in this blog. However, for parents who have Samsung smartphones and tablets, they have more options when using Netsanity.
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Also published on Medium.