Emojis Speak Louder: Decoding Kids’ Online Conversations
Staying up-to-date on technology is not only about cybersecurity and keeping your kids safe online, it is also about understanding the emojis and slang your children may be using online to ensure they’re safe.
This all may seem like a lot, but take a deep breath, and let us guide you through the most important aspects of kids’ digital communication and the ‘code’ they speak in. By knowing this lingo, you won’t feel clueless when ensuring your child’s safety ever again.
Digital communication is an increasingly important topic to be knowledgeable about when it comes to preparing your kids for their future education and careers as well as for keeping them safe online.
Some basic digital skills would be beneficial for your children to learn. These include writing professional emails, communicating with teachers or future employers versus friends and family, and understanding digital etiquette.
Emojis, abbreviations, and slang
However, no matter how much you educate them, kids will inevitably develop their own language. It seems there is a whole slew of emojis, abbreviations, and slang that kids use nowadays that sound completely alien to the average parent.
Nevertheless, if you learn all that, you may have an easier time understanding them. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the visual-textual mishmash that is today’s kids’ online language.
Most popular emojis and their meanings
- (Crying Laughing) – Often used for something hilarious, but can also indicate sarcasm.
- (Eye Roll) – Signals disbelief or annoyance; not to be taken at face value.
- (Thinking Face) – Could signify actual thought or skepticism about something said.
- (Skull) – Used to indicate “I’m dead” or “dying of laughter,” an exaggeration for finding something very funny.
- (Loudly Crying Face) – Used to emphasize sadness or frustration, but sometimes used for things that are so cute or funny it brings one to “tears.”
- (Praying Hands) – Besides the obvious, it can mean “please” or “thank you” in some contexts.
- (Fire) – Represents something that’s “hot” or trending; not just actual fire.
- (Clown) – To call someone or something ridiculous or foolish.
- (Cap) – Indicates someone is lying or exaggerating.
- (Steam From Nose) – Signifies frustration or a sense of victory and dominance over others.
- (Pleading Face) – Used to beg or make a cute request; doesn’t always imply actual sadness.
- (New Moon Face) – Used to denote awkwardness, and creepiness, or to humorously highlight a socially awkward statement.
- (Woman Shrugging) – Signals indifference or lack of knowledge about something.
- (Snake) – Denotes an untrustworthy or deceitful person.
- (Rainbow) – Beyond LGBTQ+ pride, it can also signify something magical or idealistic.
- (100) – Represents full agreement, or saying something is perfect or spot-on.
- (Pizza) – Besides the obvious, it can signify something awesome or the slang term ‘za’ meaning pizza.
- (Peach) – Often used as a euphemism for a buttock.
- (Eggplant) – Commonly used as a phallic symbol.
- (Sweat Droplets) – Represents hard work or effort, but is also used as a suggestive innuendo.
Most popular online slang
Contrary to popular belief, kids aren’t always willing to abbreviate every thought to the max. Yup, it’s not all LOL, WTF and OMG anymore—you’ll also need to learn slang, lest you want to unknowingly endanger your kids due to obliviousness. Some popular terms and phrases include:
- Drip: A term denoting standout fashion or style.
- Finsta: A secondary, usually more private, Instagram account.
- Mood: Indicates something is emotionally resonant or relatable.
- Shook: Experiencing strong surprise or disbelief.
- Dank: Initially used to describe high-grade cannabis, now also refers to excellent memes.
- Sus: Short for either suspect or suspicious, used to indicate doubt or mistrust.
- Rizz: The knack for successfully drawing romantic interest.
- Bussin: Exceptionally tasty, most often used to describe food.
- Glow up: A significant transformation or improvement, either physical or emotional.
- Fit: Refers to a complete look or ensemble.
- Hits different: Exceptionally good or impactful, beyond the norm.
- Ghost/ghosting: The act of abruptly ending a relationship by cutting off all contact.
- Karen: Describes a middle-aged woman perceived as entitled or confrontational.
- Ok, boomer: A retort used to dismiss outdated or old-fashioned opinions.
- Stan: An ardent and often obsessive fan, usually of a celebrity. Originates from an Eminem song.
- Rager: A large, boisterous party, often featuring alcohol.
- Mid: Describes something as mediocre or uninspiring.
- Salty: Expressing or feeling bitterness or irritation.
- Lowkey: Signifies a laid-back or subtle approach.
- Highkey: Indicates something is of high importance or intensity.
- Bet: A colloquial way of saying “yes” or “agreed.”
- Sipping tea: Engaging in or understanding gossip, inspired by a Kermit meme.
- Spilling tea: Actively sharing gossip.
- To sleep on: To underestimate or overlook something valuable.
- Deada$$: Absolutely certain or serious.
- Bruh: An exclamation of disbelief or surprise.
- Cross-Faded: Simultaneously under the influence of alcohol and cannabis.
- Bae: An acronym for “Before Anyone Else,” denoting a significant other.
- Lit: Describes something fun or exciting, also used for being intoxicated.
- Beef: A disagreement or conflict.
- Woke: Being socially and politically conscious.
- Extra: Excessive or dramatic behavior.
- Turnt: In a state of excitement or intoxication.
- Roasted: Subjected to harsh criticism or mockery.
- Plug: A person who supplies illicit substances.
- Gucci: A synonym for cool or good.
- I’m dead: An expression of strong disbelief or amazement.
- Geeking: Laughing uncontrollably, often to the point of discomfort.
- Thirsty: Exhibiting desperation, often in a romantic context.
- Netflix and chill: A euphemism for intimate activity.
- Throw shade: To insult or demean someone.
- Dope: A term indicating approval or coolness.
- Bye Felicia: A dismissive farewell, based on a line from the movie “Friday.”
IT and Cybersecurity to the Rescue
Finally, it’s not enough just to be knowledgeable—you need to be proactive. And there’s no better way to prevent threats, than by educating your children.
IT basics to teach your kids
Introduce your kids to secure web browsing using various browsers and VPNs. Teach them how to recognize harmful sites and how to properly manage files. While exploring computer tools, you can subtly incorporate the use of a PDF editor for tasks like editing text and filling forms. Not only is it useful, but again, it also teaches kids valuable business skills they’ll be able to harness in the future
Plus, using specialized software is a great way to avoid all the complexities of Microsoft and Google’s office software suites. While useful, these platforms are often too complex for young children. With bespoke solutions, you can still teach them the essentials. And who knows—you can also refresh your knowledge and learn a thing or two a long the way.
Cybersecurity essentials to teach your kids
Cybersecurity is a critical skill set in today’s digital world. Start by teaching your kids how to set up an online profile securely, emphasizing the need for robust privacy settings. For instance, two-factor authentication and anti-malware protection are simple enough for them to understand.
Then you can move on to installing apps and games, showing them the safe way to do it. VPNs and Wi-Fi should also be topics of discussion. Personal information should be guarded zealously; make sure they understand the dangers of oversharing online and giving out information to strangers. And last but not least, encourage your child to be open and honest with you. That’s by far the best way to tackle threats—by working together, as parent and child.
About the Author:
Ryan Harris is a copywriter focused on eLearning and the digital transitions going on in the education realm. Before turning to writing full time, Ryan worked for five years as a teacher in Tulsa and then spent six years overseeing product development at many successful Edtech companies, including 2U, EPAM, and NovoEd.