Online Social Media Terminology for Parents

Children and teens are spending an increasing amount of time online, especially on the various social media platforms. Yet, social media use can raise serious concerns for parents. On some level, and within the bounds of respecting their privacy, parents are encouraged to monitor their children’s social media use. However, parents may not understand the abbreviations and terminology that children and teens use on social media, making it difficult for parents to distinguish between innocent communication and potentially harmful interactions.

Below is a list of abbreviations and terms that are commonly used by older children and teens on social media. The list includes some terms that, while they are not necessarily frequently used by younger users, are important to understand.

Algorithm – An algorithm is a series of steps that are used to solve a problem. In the case of social media platforms, algorithms use available data to identify content that the user is interested in viewing.

ASL or A/S/L – An acronym for “age, sex, location” that is commonly used when meeting someone online for the first time.

Bae – An acronym for “before anyone else,” referring to a significant other, boyfriend, or “crush.” Ex: “I’d do anything for my bae”

Body Count – The number of people someone has slept with. Ex: “So what’s your body count anyways?”

Daddy – An attractive person who identifies with the male gender. Ex: “That guy we saw last night was a real zaddy, did you get his number?”

DTF – Down to f*ck; used to express a willingness to engage in sexual activity, either in general or with a specific person. Ex: “You should call her, I hear she’s DTF”

Egirl / Eboy – A subculture characterized by its punk-rock, gothic, K-pop and Japanese influences; widely popularized by TikTok.

FBOY / FBOI – “F*uck boy”; used to describe a male-identifying person who is only looking for sex. Ex: “Don’t’ get involved with him, everyone knows he’s an fboy”

Finsta – a fake Instagram account, often used to post content that the user wouldn’t want associated with their real account. Ex: “Did you see what Joy posted on her finsta, so funny!”

FWB – “Friends with benefits,” referring to a relationship involving physical intimacy but lacking commitment. Ex: “I don’t have a girlfriend, but I’ve got a few FWBs”

Hentai – a type of graphic anime.

Hashtag – A way of classifying content. By including a “#” in front of a word or phrase, users can search for related content.

ISO – “in search of.” Ex: “I’m ISO someone to buy some beer for the party this weekend”

KMS – An abbreviation for “kill myself,” typically used to exaggerate one’s disappointment or embarrassment. Ex: “Did you hear what happened to Joey over the weekend? If I were him I’d KMS”

KYS – An abbreviation for “kill yourself,” often used in disparaging posts on other social media users’ accounts.

Netflix and chill – Getting together to make out, have sex, or engage in physically intimate relations. Ex: “I told my parents I was coming over to your house to watch Netflix and chill, lol”

Plug – Someone who can locate drugs or a drug dealer. Ex: “Anyone have a good weed plug”

Skeet – to ejaculate.

Smash – To have casual sex. Ex: “We’ve been talking for weeks now, when are we gonna meet up and smash?”

Snack – An attractive person. Ex: “She’s such a snack”

Spam – A fake social media account.

Thirsty – craving sexual attention/fulfillment. Ex: “Did you see her recent IG post, she’s so thirsty”

WYA – “Where you at?”

WYD – “What you doing?”

Zaddy – A well-dressed, attractive man, usually used to refer to someone who is older than the person using the term. Ex: “My zaddy came over last night”