Elk River Teen Treatment Program

Learn Teen Text Slang to Protect Your Child

Teen texting codes and acronyms are essential for parents to be aware of with phone messaging apps

Decoding Your Teen's Text Slang Words

September 10, 2020

If someone says, “Do me a solid,” and you know they are asking you for a favor, then you might be the parent of a teenager.

As with every generation before them, teens today have created their own lexicon. The difference in the current generation and prior generations is that today's teens write in code while using apps on smartphones that can connect them instantly to the world. It’s a little more complicated in 2020.

Most parents are aware of the dangers presented by the internet, but messaging apps are much more difficult to monitor. Some can be hidden from view or disguised as an innocent smart phone utility. As soon as parents learn about one app, a replacement is waiting to be released.

Monitor Your Teen's Text Message Slang

Social and messaging apps like Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Kik can leave a paper trail if you know how to access them. And if you are paying for your teen’s phone and/or phone service, you should have the passcode to that phone.

With access to their child’s smartphone, parents can randomly check for messages that contain offensive material or secret codes that flag inappropriate and downright dangerous behaviors.

A List of Text Slang Words to Watch For

Staying on top of text message slang and the lingo used in messaging is difficult, but here is a texting slang list that should raise concerns:

  • CDC – Code 9 parents are around
  • Broken – Hungover
  • CU46 – See you for sex
  • GYPO – Get your pants off
  • IPN – I’m posting naked
  • IWSN – I want sex now
  • MOS – Mom over shoulder
  • NIFOC – Nude in front of computer
  • P911 – Parent alert
  • P999 – Parent alert
  • POS – Parent over shoulder
  • PIR – Parent in room
  • PAW – Parents are watching
  • RU/18 – Are you over 18?
  • TDTM – Talk dirty to me

More Texting Abbreviations For Teenagers

KMS/KYS - If you see either of these codes, it’s time to intervene. Your child is threatening to “Kill Myself” or urging someone else to “Kill Yourself.” Seek the assistance of a mental health professional, but in the meantime, stress to your child the danger and impact of such phrases.

Zerg is a form of cyberbullying. The word comes from the game Starcraft where enemies team up in order to bully another player into submission.

WTTP - Want to trade pics? This usually refers to nude photos. If your teen is texting someone WTTP, it is likely that they are open to trading photos which can lead to embarrassment or get the attention of on-line predators.

FWB – Friends with Benefits. If your teen is using FWB when referring to a relationship, it is time to have a serious talk about sex. FWB is code for Friends with Benefits or sex with no strings attached.

Thirsty is code for craving attention – usually sex.

Lit/Turnt Up. You should know if your teen is texting about getting “lit” or “turnt up.” These are terms for partying with alcohol and/or drugs.

Finsta is a secret Instagram account that might be used for harmless content with a smaller circle of friends, or something completely different that could put them in harm’s way.

Parents Can Open Dialogue

In addition to staying up to date on slang, the behavioral health professionals at Elk River Treatment Program for teens advise parents to maintain an open dialogue with their children by creating and maintaining a safe space to discuss sensitive issues.

Parents should practice their poker face. As difficult as it may seem, don’t become too emotional when you hear horror stories of drugs at school or see bullying or sexual texts.

Don’t approach a tough subject when you’re upset, advises Penny Baker, who is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Supervisor, as well as Director of Clinical Services at Elk River Treatment Program. “Take a minute to re-set and maybe start with help me understand why you felt it was okay to (fill in the blank).”

Validate your child’s emotions by acknowledging that you hear them. Make sure you understand what you’re hearing by repeating what they’d said to you and acknowledge what you’re seeing and hearing.

Examples are:
“It sounds like you are (sad, angry, frightened).
“So, you are feeling (sad, angry, frightened) about (the situation). Is that right?”
“What do you want?”
“What have you tried?”
“How well has it worked?”

Failure Can Reap Invaluable Experiences

Your goal is to keep the conversation going until your child reaches a solution.

Many parents make the mistake of providing solutions for every problem their child encounters. Parents are wired to protect their children but shielding them from failure implies that they are incapable of solving their own problems. You are also robbing them of experiencing disappointment which should be a honed skill by the time they are a young adult.

Parents with children in treatment at Elk River Treatment Program receive consistent parent coaching on-site and via tele-medicine as their child moves through the phases of treatment. “If a child is struggling – the family is struggling. Our treatment plans are designed for the entire family,” said Baker. “The number one concern is to keep your child safe,” she continued. “Assure them that you are not parenting from a position of power, but from a position of love and concern for their well-being,” Baker said.

Sources: MyKidsTime.com and Parentology.com