Tech and Togetherness

Translating Teen Speak

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Do you know your net lingo from your text speak?

The key to protecting your child online is to equip yourself with a basic understanding of the things they do and say on the internet. Here are a few acronyms to get you started.

  • ADR: Short for ‘address’. Be careful and check your child isn’t sharing personal details online.
  • AF: Short for ‘as f*ck’. Often used in a positive context like “Cool AF”.
  • ASL: Stands for ‘age, sex, location’. This could mean your child is using an anonymous chat room.
  • BAE: Short for ‘before anyone else’ usually used as a term of endearment.
  • DM: Direct Message. Often used as a request – “DM me!” – to take a conversation out of a ‘public’ domain (like Facebok wall) and into ‘private’ (a private message).
  • Catfish: Meeting someone online, then meeting in person and discovering they aren’t who they say they are. They are the Catfish.
  • Fleek/On fleek: This means perfect, “Her outfit was on fleek.”
  • FML: F— my life – a term of frustration.
  • FOH, GTFO: These stand for “F— Outta Here” and “Get The F— Out.” They both are terms used to dismiss whatever is being referenced.
  • FOMO: Fear of missing out – often posted in response to what other people are up to, as a self-deprecating joke at one’s own jealousies and insecurities.
  • FTW: Started as a gaming acronym, For The Win means cool or good.
  • Ghosting: The act of ceasing communication suddenly. “I loved him but he ghosted me.”
  • I’m Out or #ImOut: Just like in a game of cards, when an opponent has such a great hand that you throw down your cards and say “I’m out”, this is basically a way of relaying the fact that a user thinks something someone has posted is so insane, ridiculous, awesome or offensive that the other player wins.
  • IMO/IMHO: In my opinion / In my humble opinion.
  • IRL: Stands for ‘in real life’ – worrying if your child is using it in the context of meeting someone they have met online, i.e. MIRL (‘meet in real life’) or LMIRL (‘let’s meet in real life’).
  • Netflix and Chill: ‘Hook up’ as Netflix runs in the background.
  • NVM: Text speak for never mind.
  • OH or RLRT: These stand for “overheard” or “Real-Life Retweet” and are used to reference something that a user has overheard in their real life. They are generally used in reference to shocking, odd or funny snippets of overheard conversations.
  • POS or MOS: Means ‘Parents over shoulder’ or ‘Mum over shoulder’. Similarly, CD9 means ‘code nine’, which implies parents are around; or KPC, which stands for ‘keep parents clueless’.
  • PRON: A deliberate misspelling of ‘porn’, to try and get round a web search being detected by automatic filtering system.
  • RT: Short for “retweet”, which means you didn’t write the tweet yourself, you are sharing someone else’s tweet. RT is placed at the start of the text you intend to share.
  • Ship: Short for a romantic relationship. “I see a ‘ship developing between Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.”
  • SMH: Shake my head, meaning something is shocking, or you’re looking at something with shame or disbelief.
  • TMI: Too much information – also known as over-sharing. Some things are better left unsaid!
  • TBH: To be honest, a common text and email acronym, but can also be used before an “honest” viewpoint on images or comments on blogs/forums.
  • #: The hashtag symbol works on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as a way of grouping and identifying posts with the same subject or theme. Try looking up a few of the following hashtags and you’ll start to get an idea.
  • #FF: Follow Friday is a Twitter hashtag with the aim of drumming up more followers for someone on Twitter. For example, if you want to support a musician, politician, or anyone else you think is interesting, simply tweet a message listing their username (as in @username) along with the #FF hashtag. This is usually done in list form, so others who trust that person’s judgment can easily start following a bunch of interesting new accounts.
  • #ICant, #ICantEven #Cryin #ImCrying and #Dead: These hashtags, and similar variations of them, are all a little bit misleading, but once you get one you can pretty much understand them all. Basically, when someone posts #ImDead, #Crying, #ICant or another similar hashtag, it means that something is hilarious, or very shocking.
  • #TBT: Throwback Thursday is a Twitter, Instagram and Facebook hashtag, which has become a fun opportunity for people to share photos and info that is a “throwback” to an earlier time. For instance, on Instagram, posting a really old picture of yourself, or on Twitter telling a short quip about something in your past. This is a fun way for people to learn a little bit more about each other, and to reminisce about the past.
  • #YOLO: This is an abbreviation for “You Only Live Once.” It can be interpreted in a number of ways, but most often indicates an activity that shows someone is living on the edge. But things change fast online, and these days it tends to be used more sarcastically.
“My teenage daughter is very connected socially and has her own blog, instagram and snapchat etc. I have asked her what different hashtags she uses mean and then as a bit of a joke between us I will slip those into the occasional text like #Ibettergoforarun (attached to a picture of an ice cream). I am careful I don’t overuse it but I think it makes her feel I get her more” – Maria

Teen trends change fast. If an acronym has you foxed, try or

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