Netflix and Chill: Deciphering Your Teen’s Code Language

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Many parents of teens may wish their kids didn’t spend hours every day with eyes glued to smartphones or tablets, fingers endless flying across tiny keyboards. Parents inquisitive enough to look at their child’s texts and posts will likely see a steady stream of what seems to be benign information paired with an overabundance of emojis and selfies.

But they might also see conversations littered with a lot of meaningless capital letters smattered with random numbers. Though it’s somewhat amusing, this secret teen code should also be cause for concern for parents.

Secret languages and codes have been part of life since the dawn of time. While Julius Caesar was busy taking over the world, invading countries to increase the size of the Roman Empire, he devised his own code to communicate with his generals. Bilingual Navajo speakers known as Navajo Code Talkers were specially recruited during World War II by the Marines. Modern-day teens have also discovered the value of code talking as a way to keep their conversations a mystery to prying eyes.

Kids’ online connectivity may drive parents crazy, there are darker issues lurking that parents need to be aware of. Checking in on a child’s online activities, texts and emails is one thing; understanding the conversation that is happening is an entirely different issue. Parents often find themselves peering at an iPhone text on their child’s phone with absolutely no idea of what the cryptic code they are reading means. This leaves parents puzzled, but also highly concerned that teen conversation may not be so innocent after all. When presented with this unidentifiable language, a parent’s thoughts usually drift to one thing: “My kid is up to no good.”

Snapchat is also a source of befuddlement for many parents. This rapidly growing social media platform is the MySpace of modern times. The bulk of its users are millennials and teens and it’s flown under the radar of a lot of older Internet users. Snapchat made a name for itself by letting users add a “Snap.” These images can be enhanced and made cartoon-like with Lenses, Filters, Geo-Filters, Stickers, Emoji, text and a drawing tool to personalize them more. As well as photo Snaps, users can send short video Snaps and disappearing text messages. A Snapchat text message also vanishes as soon as the person reading it leaves the chat, making it harder for parents to monitor.

Adults who want to keep up with the ever-changing teen code can tap into sites such as,, which is self-titled the Internet & Text Slang Dictionary & Translator, and NoSlang has an excellent resource, 25 Internet Slang Terms All Parents Should Know, on their site as well.

Parents are keenly aware that it’s critically important to be able to communicate with their kids and to understand their activity online as well as in real life. Much to the chagrin of teens, parents need to be proactive about monitoring their child’s online and cell phone activities; staying informed and aware of the “code” kids use is just another way to keep them safe. ■

Sources:,,, and


Taking Short Cuts
Often code talk is an innocent way to shorten long dialogue. Acronyms such as LOL (laugh out loud), BTW (by the way), IDK (I don’t know) RUOK (are you OK) and “totes” (short for “totally”) are created to save keystrokes. Other acronyms or terms, however, are not so innocent. Below are code terms that have been popping up recently in texts, email or on online megasite Snapchat.

4/20: Marijuana
6Y: Sexy
AITR: Adults in the room. This is something teens use if they are messaging someone online or texting and need to warn their friends not to write something they don’t want their parents to see.
BTYCL: Booty Call (after-hours hooking up)
netflix and chill: This seemingly harmless pairing of words has nothing to do with relaxing in front of a movie and everything to do with hooking up.
CD9: Code 9 – parents are around.
D46?: Down for sex? (As in “do you want to have…”)
FWB: Friends with benefits. Another code word for hooking up with someone who is not considered a boyfriend or girlfriend.
FYEO: For your eyes only
ICFILWU: I could fall in love with you
KPC: Keeping Parents Clueless
LGH: Let’s get high
LH6: Let’s have sex (LHSX can be also used)
NAGI: Not a good idea
PAW: Parents are watching
PIR: Parent in room
POS: Parent over shoulder
PRON: Porn
PRW: Parents are watching
SorG: Straight or gay?
TDTM: Talk dirty to me
WTPA: Where the party at?

Age Restrictions for Social Media
Most social media services and apps require users to be 13 to join. This is to comply with COPPA, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, which prevents the collection and storage of information from a child under 13.

Facebook: 13+
Twitter: 13+
Snapchat: 13+
Instagram: 13+
Tinder (the notoriously adult “hook up” site) 13+