Parenting Teens: Culture and Slang Words of Today’s Teens

Understanding your teenager is never an easy task. Teenagers are never easy to handle, and with the slang among them constantly changing, it can be difficult to keep up. The cultural aspect of teenagers has a lot to do with their slang, so knowing which slang means what will help you get a better insight into what they’re saying and to whom they’re saying it to.

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover here, so get a drink, get comfortable, and let’s get to it!

The Latest Teen Slang in 2017

To make this easier to read for you, we’re going to lay it all out in bullet points with their names, descriptions, etc.

The Plug – Whether it be for the latest clothing store or a pot dealer, “The Plug” is where teens are going for certain things and using this term to avoid using the name. If you hear or see your teenager using this slang, ask them to elaborate on where exactly it is. It’s also used for social media products, such as FitTea, for example. However, keep in mind that this term is not a new one, it’s, in fact, an old one, but has become increasingly popular to use these days.

Finessed – If you hear your teenager saying something along the lines of, “yeah, I totally finessed it off of her”, then what he or she is really saying is, “yeah, I totally stole it off of her”. This term is used for a few other things, but it’s mostly used for stealing, so be careful and talk to your teenager if you ever hear or see them say it.

Extra – While this may sound like something you’ll understand right off the bat, you’d be surprised how many parents are misunderstanding the meaning when their teens are saying it. For example, “she was being so extra today”, translates into, “she was being so intense today”.

Ratchet – If your child ever calls you this, take offense to it. Why? Because this term is used to describe something or someone that is gross, ghetto, you name it. While this is an old term as well, it’s used popularly today, so we had to include it.

Memes – Funny pictures (see left for example) are no longer called funny pictures. Instead, they’re called “memes”, which is pronounced “me-m-s”, not “mee-mee-s”. If you’ve seen a picture about Harambe the gorilla then you’ve seen a meme.

Respek – It means exactly what it looks like, as in “respect”. This came from a rapper who demanded that somebody put “respek” on his name and now teenagers are all over it. We don’t understand, either!

Dead – No, nobody’s died, it’s just teenagers saying that something was incredibly hilarious. This one is harmless. For example, “yeah, I saw the picture, I was dead.”

Lowkey – Here’s a favorite of teenagers! Remember the slang “on the down low”? Well, “lowkey” is the new that, so if you hear your teenager saying something like, “yeah, I’m going there later, but be lowkey”, or, “when is it lowkey coming? I have to go there”, then you should really ask them to elaborate on it.

Sus – Another incredibly stupid one, but we’re going to include it anyway. “Sus” basically means “suspicious”. For example, “why is he acting so sus?”, or the more popular, “why is he sussing so much?”. It’s practically “fussing” but switched around. Once again, we don’t understand either.


Why You Need to Understand All of This

While some of these terms and slang are old, they’re circulating once again and coming back into play alongside the newer ones. Because social media is a big part of our lives today, especially your teenager’s, their speech and behavior is very much influenced and affected by interactions between online friends.

When it comes to understanding why your teens are acting the way that they do, you as the parent need to realize that it’s because of online influences. For example, your daughter is following Kylie Jenner on Instagram, and then a week later she wants bigger lips. See how fast things escalate?


So What Can You Do?

The bottom line here is that keeping on eye on the most recent slang, whether it was used 5 years or 5 minutes ago, and understanding what they all mean is a great way to monitor your teen without being too invasive. They seem to assume that adults have no idea what they’re saying. Remember, online influences are generally where this stems from.


About Us

KidGuard’s sole mission is to protect your children online. Our team spends every waking hour thinking about how to bring awareness and inspire solutions on issues of cyber bullying, online predators, teen suicide, and childhood depression in the age of technology. KidGuard employs a team of researchers and writers to educate parents on solutions to digital parenting problems and also runs a popular child cell phone monitoring software to allow parents to stay involved in their child’s life online.

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