Cracking the Code: a guide to secret language teens use on social media

SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) - Social media has changed the way everyone communicates; texting, Snapping, Tweeting or Instagramming are now the norm.

But the new media has brought along with it a secret language between teens, often referring to sex, drugs, or darker themes that may mean your child is being harmed.

News 12 has been digging up information on these phrases to "crack the code."

Sherman dad Clint Morton is about to face one of his toughest obstacles yet: Raising teenage daughters.

"The oldest one being 12, she does have a cell phone," Morton said.

Morton said the responsibility that comes along with giving his girls phones is something he can't take lightly.

"Technology always evolves. There's gonna be something we're not aware of that she will be," he said.

He knows his girls are likely entering the world of social media, like the 78 percent of teens that use Snapchat and 71 percent that use Instagram according to a 2018 study by Pew Research.

But many parents don't know the secret language that teens have amassed in recent years.

Words like Finsta, Thot, Netflix and chill, and even basic take on a whole new meaning to teens.

Finsta refers to a fake Instagram teens keep private to post about sex or drinking. Thot, which stands for "that hoe over there," is similar to calling someone a slut. Netflix and chill refers to meeting up for sex, and calling someone basic makes them boring or conventional.

And it's more than just phrases. '99' means 'parents are gone' and 420 refers to marijuana.

Emojis like the eggplant, peach and water droplets are used as sexual references.

"If [parents] see something, ask their kids what it means," said Denison Police Lt. Mike Eppler. "Talk to other parents and talk to teachers. They'll be seeing these things too."

Eppler said being able to crack the code is important to making sure your kids are safe, especially when darker acronyms, like KMS and KYS (kill myself and kill yourself) are being sent and snapped.

"Parents have to learn to speak their language," said Tiffany Dancer, the Clinical Director at Child and Family Guidance Center of Texoma.

She said it's important to remember having a phone is a privilege, and parents have to make sure their kids can take on the responsibility.

"As a parent, do a little investigating and just look into it," Dancer said. "Get your own account if that's what you need to do."

She said it all starts with gaining their trust.

"They could be secretive about that," she said. "They don't want to get in trouble. So creating an environment where they come to you is important. It starts before your kid even gets a phone."

Morton said he is striving to make sure his daughters stay safe as they navigate the world of social media.

"Stay constantly aware of who they're talking to without getting too overbearing," Morton said. "Keep any kind of monitors in place to keep them safe."

App to monitor teen texting:

More texting codes:

Finsta: Fake Instagram
LMAO: Laughing my a** off
IMO: In my opinion
IRL: In real life
NGL: Not gonna lie
KMS: Kill myself
KYS: Kill yourself
GNOC: Get Naked on Camera
ASL: Age/ Sex/ Location
99: Refers to parents are gone
AF: As F***
420: Refers to marijuana
Netflix and chill: Means have sex
Thot: That hoe over there; slut
Lit, turnt: Drunk
FWB: Friends with benefits
SMH: Shaking my head
WYD: What are you doing
Fam: A group of friends
Basic: Conforming, conventional

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