Editor’s Note: Kelly Wallace is CNN’s digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering family, career and life. Read her other columns, and follow her reports at CNN Parents and on Twitter. Watch a CNN Special Report, “#Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens,” on CNNgo.
CNN Special Report #Being13 analyzed 150,000 social media posts of 13-year-olds
Acronyms or slang teens used ranged from innocent to racy
For the sake of this story, I’d like to invent a new acronym: IAVS, which means, “I am very sorry.”
The reason for the apology stems from a story I wrote last year, “28 Internet acronyms every parent should know.”
“Wouldn’t it be interesting to do a piece on the acronyms that teens are using across the Internet, especially on social media and apps, to help parents understand what, in fact, their kids are talking about?” I thought.
I consulted existing lists of Internet acronyms and talked with Internet safety experts. It seemed fine – until the story published and I received a wildly critical response on social media, often with language that I can’t include here.
My Twitter feed blew up with people saying I didn’t know what I was talking about and that teens weren’t using most of the acronyms on my list.
Here’s why I’m sorry: For that story, I never consulted with the true experts – teens, themselves.
Related: Do teens still use Facebook?
I’m thankful to have a chance for a re-do, and this time I know we’ll get it right because our list comes straight from the social media posts of 13-year-olds around the country.
As part of a two-year investigation, #Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens, Anderson Cooper and his “AC360°” team connected with 200 eighth-graders at eight different schools around the United States. They, along with their parents and schools, gave CNN and two child-development experts permission to review what they were posting on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook over a six-month period.
The end result: 150,000 posts written by 13-year-olds. They speak volumes about how teens communicate and what impact social media has on their lives. (The CNN Special Report “#Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens” airs at 9 p.m. ET Monday. Watch to find out the results of the first large-scale study of its kind on teens and social media.)
Related: Teens on social media: Being cut off is ‘awful’
So what better way to know what acronyms and other shorthand teens, or in this case, 13-year-olds, use on social media than to scan their posts? Here are some of the more popular acronyms and sayings, from the innocent to the racy.
1. OOTD - Outfit of the day
2. KOTD - Kicks of the day – Typically refers to sneakers
3. HMU - Hit me up – Usually asking for someone’s Snapchat username, a phone number to text or for a direct message
4. Smash - I would have sex with you – A girl might post a provocative picture and a boy might write “smash.”
5. Cook session - When one or several teens gang up on another kid on social media
6. TBH - To be honest – A teen might post a picture of himself or herself and ask for a TBH, usually looking for positive responses.
7. TBR - To be rude – While TBH often leads to positive responses, TBR is usually followed by a negative response.
8. OOMF - One of my followers – A secretive way to talk about one of their followers without saying their name, such as “OOMF was so hot today.”
9. BAE - Baby – affectionate term for someone’s girlfriend, boyfriend etc.
10. WCW - Woman Crush Wednesday – A girl will post a picture of another girl she thinks is pretty, while guys will post pictures of girls they think are hot.
11. MCM - Man Crush Monday – Similar to Woman Crush Wednesday, but featuring pictures of men
12. BMS - Broke my scale – A way to say they like the way someone looks
13. RDH - Rate date hate – As in “rate me, would you date me, do you hate me?” A typical response might be “rate 10 date yes hate no” or “10/y/n.”
14. IDK - I don’t know
15. RN - Right now
16. KIK - Another social media app, Kik, that they want to communicate on
17. FML - F*** my life
18. AF - As f*** – A teen might tweet “mad af” or “you seem chill af.”
19. LMAO - Laughing my ass off
20. S/O or SO - Shout out
21. ILYSM - I like you so much or I love you so much
22. CWD - Comment when done – Similar to TBH, urging others to comment on their photo of whatever they’re posting
23. LOL - Laugh out loud – Yes, you’ll still find teens using LOL and OMG.
Related: Replace the ‘sex talk’ with the ‘tech talk’?
What are some of the other acronyms or sayings teens are using on social media? Share your thoughts with Kelly Wallace on Twitter @kellywallacetv or CNN Parents on Facebook.