Five Social Media Terms that Parents Should Know


Ghosting  -  Shade  -  Savage  -  Lit  -  Ratchet  -  FOMO

Above are five trendy terms your children may be using in conversation with friends and on social media. It may be helpful to understand the meaning and connotations behind these terms in order to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of digital socialization. Talking about this with your tweens and teens can enhance their understanding of the nuance of new digital terms and keep you in the loop.

Ghosting: The act of suddenly discontinuing all communication with someone which includes  text, email, Snapchat,  Facebook and other forms of digital communication. This is done in hope that the "ghostee" will just "get the hint" and leave the person alone as opposed to  simply telling someone you are no longer interested in communicating with them. It happens without giving any apparent reason or notice and can be hurtful and confusing. Ghosting demonstrates a real desire to avoid confrontation and is common because it is a quick fix.  It also shows a certain degree of immaturity, impulsiveness, lack of empathy and an inability to communicate effectively on the part of the “Ghoster.”  Parents should discuss how to effectively and maturely navigate and problem solve around conflict. For example, when two individuals are dating and one person decides he or she wants to break up; rather than ghost,  teens should be encouraged to have an honest and meaningful conversation about the break up. To find out more about ghosting and for some great strategies around handing it Click Here.

Shade: To "throw shade" is to say a rude or slick comment towards another person with others not catching the insult except the person it was directed at. It can be thought of as dissing or in some circumstances it can be thought of as roasting. This is a very fine line. Throwing shade can be done covertly through body language, by picking out flaws, or it can be done virtually – through the use of social media and other outlets. Many individuals, often bullies, will make mean remarks towards peers and use the guise of shade as an excuse for his or her actions. This does not take away from how hurtful it may be. Shade can be both offensive or playful and distinguishing the difference is sometimes difficult. This is a highly nuanced social dynamic that is treacherous territory and can easily be misunderstood or poorly executed. For most kids it is very loaded and should be avoided to ensure that people's feelings are not hurt. For more teen slang terms parents should keep an eye on Click Here.

Savage: This term has multiple meanings.  Most often, savage describes a person who is impulsive, rude or ruthless.  It can also refer to an individual who does not consider consequences of their actions. People will say “Wow, that was savage!” when referring to an impulsive and potentially hurtful act by another person. It is often meant as a compliment, an ode to an individual's relentlessness.  It can glorify reckless behavior, confuse kids about expected behavior and influence decision making, often in a negative way. Like the previous terms, it is complicated and nuanced. Parents should talk with children about the dangers of savage actions and help them to understand the possible repercussions of their actions. For example, when an NBA player showboats and shows bad sportsmanship kids say that's  "so savage!" and they are glorifying inappropriate behavior.  This nuance should be called to their attention. To see savage and other terms explained Click here.

Lit: The most popular definition of lit  from urban dictionary is, "The state of being so intoxicated (regardless of the intoxicating agent) that all the person can do is smile, so that they look lit up like a light."  Getting lit can also mean simply having a good time with friends and or family without being under the influence. So remember parents, there's more than one way to get lit and have a good time. It's all about doing it safely and responsibly.

FOMO: "fear of missing out". The fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great.  Social media has made it so easy to post the fun you are having or pretending to have with others.  This often leaves kids who are not in attendance feeling left out or excluded. Encourage your children to be happy with themselves and accepting of the in-person relationships that they have formed. Its important for them to see this as a new form of peer pressure and social competitiveness that they must try to resist.  In addition, parents should remind their children to be mindful when posting that others won't feel intentionally excluded.  Often tone and content can make the difference.

For more resources on teen terms click here: Decoding Teen Slang