Understanding Slang and Secret Codes in Your Child’s Texts

By Andrea Nelson
May 2, 2024
Emojis on blue background

Bruh, I’m 🔥 AF. Say what? 

You know you should monitor your child’s texts, but actually understanding their messages is a whole other story. Like previous generations of kids, Gen Z and Gen Alpha use slang to put their own spin on the way they communicate. But with social media contributing to the rapid spread of slang and emoji meaning in text messages, it can be extra hard for modern parents to keep up. So, what are the kids saying these days? Read on for a guide to some of the most common slang and emoji meanings you might find in your child’s texts, including ones that could mean they’re up to trouble. 

Drugs, alcohol, and partying 

If you’re concerned your child might be drinking or doing drugs, here are some emojis and slang you’ll want to know:

Emojis

🤑👑💰💵🔌: Dealer advertisement

🍃🔥🌴🌲🍀😮💨: Marijuana

🍄: Hallucinogenic mushrooms 

💊: Illicit use of prescription drugs

🔵🅿️🍌: Percocet or Oxycodone

🍫🚌: Xanax

A-🚆: Adderall

🔮💙💎🧪: Meth

🤎🐉: Heroin

❄️🌨️☃️💎🎱🔑😛🐡: Cocaine

♥️⚡️❌🍬: MDMA and Molly

🍇💜🍼: Cough syrup

Slang

  • Cart: Cartridge for a vaporizer.
  • Dabbing:  Inhaling concentrated cannabis oil by dropping some on a hot surface and letting it vaporize.
  • Gas: Marijuana
  • Hulk:  A 2-mg generic benzodiazepine bar.
  • Pen:  Vape for weed or tobacco; uses cartridges.
  • Plug: Drug dealer or connection.
  • School bus:  A 2-mg Xanax bar.
  • Special K: Ketamine
  • Snow: Cocaine
  • Turnt: Having a good time, often while using drugs or alcohol.
  • Yayo: Cocaine
  • Zaza or za: Marijuana

Sexual overtones, dating, and relationships

Sexting is on the rise among kids and can come with big consequences. Here’s what you need to know to catch emoji innuendos on your child’s device:

Emojis

🍆: Penis

🍑: Butt

🥵: "Hot" in a sexual sense.

🚛:  “Dump truck,” which refers to a large and/or shapely bottom.

🌮: Vagina

🧠: Oral sex

💦: Ejaculation

👅:  May indicate sexual activity, especially oral sex.

🤤: Desiring someone sexually (often used in response to nudes).

🍒: Breasts/testicles/virginity

🍝: Represents nudes, which are often called “noods.”

🔨: Used to refer to sexual activity.

🌽: Represents "porn," especially on TikTok.

Slang

  • Rizz: Charisma or charm. 
  • Gyat: (Rhymes with “squat.”) This compliment stands for “Girl your a** thicc.” 
  • Thicc: (Sometimes pronounced "Tick") Used to refer to a woman with a full-figured body. Thicc is often used as a compliment, but may also be considered offensive.
  • Body count: The number of people someone has slept with.

General emojis and slang 

Here are some additional emojis and slang to be aware of: 

Emojis

🥴:  Used to express drunkenness, sexual arousal, or a grimace.

🙃:  Used to express annoyance.

🤡:  Used when someone is acting foolish (like a clown).

👻:  Indicates being “ghosted” (dumped or cut off from contact with no explanation).

🧢:  Symbolizes a lie, also known as a “cap.”

🥶: Often used in response to a snarky comment (as in, "That was cold").

💯: Used to give a stamp of approval.

🐍: Represents a snake or untrustworthy person.

☠️: Means “I’m dead,” as in they laughed so hard it killed them.

🔥: This symbol can be used to describe something very good or to describe when someone looks hot or sexy. It can also mean “lit,” as in intoxicated.

👀: Means one is feeling gossipy, as in “tell me more.”

Slang

  • AF: As F***; used for emphasis, as in “I’m tired AF.”
  • Beige: Dull, run-of-the-mill, or safe.
  • Bruh: Stands for “bro,” but can be used to address someone of any gender. 
  • Do it for the plot: Doing something challenging, risky, etc. for the memories or the story. (A new version of YOLO.)
  • Mid: "Low quality" or "average." 
  • Pick-me girl or pick-me energy: An insult meaning someone who’s a try-hard, loud and obnoxious, attention seeking, etc.
  • Sus: Short for “suspicious.”
  • Vanilla girl: An aspirational lifestyle representing the intersection of comfort and luxury. Vanilla girls lean toward minimalistic, often wearing shades of white and cream. 
  • W in the chat: Used to hype someone up. 

Monitoring your child’s texts

Now that you know what to look for, make sure you’re on top of monitoring your child’s device. Regularly sit down and look at their messages with them. Consider signing up for a child safety app like BrightCanary, which even shows you deleted messages. Set clear expectations for texting behavior and to put it in writing with a digital device contract

In short

Kid’s texts can be filled with hard-to-decipher slang and secret codes. But with open communication, monitoring, and staying up on trends, you can spot trouble in your child’s texts so you can address the issue together.

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