Decoding tween and teen texts

Remember when we were kids and spent a lot of time on the phone talking with our friends? Those days are long gone and instead tweens and teens are texting — a lot. The language kids use in those digital conversations, however, is one that parents often don’t speak. If you’re wondering what your kids are texting about, here’s some help decoding tween and teen texts.

You may know that “Netflix and chill” doesn’t mean “let’s get together to catch up on ‘Stranger Things’ or ‘The Crown,’” but rather is an invitation to hook up. But the terminology kids use goes far beyond that. 

Here are some terms that parents may not know:

9 or CD9 or Code 9: Parents are around 

99: Parents are gone

53X: Sex

143: I love you

420: Marijuana reference

1174: Meet at a party spot

AF: As f**k

ASL: Age/Sex/Location

Basic: Someone who is viewed as boring or a conforming person

CU46: See you for sex

Dabbing: Refers to concentrated doses of cannabis, also a dance craze

DYWTMUS: Do you want to meet up somewhere?

FINSTA: Fake Instagram account

FWB: Friends with benefits 

GTG: Got to go

GNOC: Get naked on camera

GYPO: Get your pants off

ILY: I love you

IRL: In real life

ISO: In search of

IWSN: I want sex now

J/K: Just kidding

Juul: Type of e-cigarette that is small and discreet, pods are used for smoking

KMN: Kill me now

KMS: Kill myself

KYS: Kill yourself 

LH6: Let’s have sex

Lit/Turnt/Turnt Up: Something that’s active or popular, can also refer to being stoned or drunk

LOL: Laughing out loud

MPFB: My personal f**k buddy

NGL: Not gonna lie

NP: No problem

NIFOC: Nude in front of computer

OMFG: Oh my f**king God

PAL: Parents are listening

POS: Parent over shoulder

PIR: Parent in room

ROTFLMAO: Rolling on the floor laughing my a$$ off

UH: Are you horny?

SH: Sh** happens

SMD: Suck my d**k

SMDH: Shake my damn head

SMH: Shaking my head, meaning “I don’t believe it” or “that’s so dumb”

Snatched: On point, very good or well styled

TBH: To be honest

TDTM: Talk dirty to me

TF: The f**k

Thot: Stands for “that hoe over there” and is often used instead of “slut”

TWD: Texting while driving

WTF: What the f**k?

WTTP: Want to trade pics?

WUF: Where you from?

WYD: What you doing?

“The language is always going to change, but it’s good to be at least somewhat in the know and not oblivious to the fact that tweens and teens do use coding to talk with each other,” says Kortney Peagram, PhD, of Bulldog Solution in Chicago, which hosts student programs and parent workshops focused on eliminating bullying and promoting safety online. 

However, Peagram cautions that parents “not obsess over it, and don’t become more interested in the decoding than what’s going on with your kid.” Instead, she recommends monitoring kids when they’re in middle school (or earlier if they have a phone) to make sure they’re being safe. Parents can do less monitoring as kids get older, but make sure that they are aware of the consequences of sexting.

She says that it’s best for parents to keep the lines of communication open and building a strong parent-child relationship. And don’t be afraid to ask when you don’t understand what a text means. “When kids trust you, they’re more likely to explain things to you,” she says.

Most importantly, she stressed that parents need to repeatedly encouraging kids to think about the consequences of what they say and share via text. “They need to hear that they should always think before they send something,” she advises.

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