TAKING ACTION: Find out the real meaning behind your children’s cryptic smartphone phrasing
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – By now, most of you know the phrase “Netflix and chill” means more than just watching a movie, but what about “body count” and “throwing neck” or the significance of “7:10?” Emojis on your children’s smartphones could be a bit cryptic, too.
Teenagers using code speak to get around mom, dad or teachers is pretty much a rite of passage, but today’s teens are going high-tech with their hush-hush hieroglyphics.
“It’s usually of a sexual nature,” police officer Dan Friesen said.
Officer Friesen said school resource officers hear words all day that sound benign, but aren’t.
Heard these? “Give top,” “throw neck,” “catch it” and even “face time” are all about oral sex. The word “thirsty” means wanting to hook-up and the term “body count” refers to the number of times one has hooked up. And if you hear “purple drank” or “lean,” that’s a beverage; a mixture of codeine with Kool-Aid or soda.
“Mary Jane” is still around but she has new buds, “Molly,” “shatter,” “dabs” and “wax” all refer to drugs and the new code time to consume is “7:10.” Why? Turn “7:10” upside down and it reads “oil,” which is a reference to the chemical THC in marijuana.
Incoming high school sophomore Chanda Richards said these words are carefully crafted outside of the classroom.
“People use a lot of jargon now days,” she said. “I’ve seen and heard them, especially walking down the hallways, people say random stuff and you’ll think, ‘does that mean what it think it means?’”
Richards says the words and phrases can have different meanings based on context and who is saying them, which sounds confusing, especially for parents.
Wendy Lashbrook, a mom of three, said she stays in tune with her kids’ conversations by using the internet and simply asking them.
“I may not know what it is, but I’ll Google it,” she said.
Well played, said Officer Friesen.
“A lot of times it may be difficult to figure out exactly what they mean, but if you start looking at the context of the conversation and what’s going on you can probably infer something,” he said.
Some emojis have double meaning, as well. Most fruit popping up on your kids’ smartphones isn’t about an effort to get their Vitamin C. The eggplant and the banana, pretty easy to figure out. The peach and cherry, you get the picture, but these fruit combined with a “rain” emoji and a “party popper” emoji may mean someone’s “body count” just increased.
“Shocked by some of them and how inappropriate they were,” said Lashbrook.
Seeing it in picture form for Lashbrook illustrated a lot more.
“I don’t need to know everything that’s going on, but I do need to know who my kid is hanging out with and I need to know those relationships,” she said. “Sometimes it’s just to fit in, but when you take action on that it’s not to fit in anymore.”
Officer Friesen said there is a line between being part of a crowd and being careless.
“Some of the things that concern us when these types of communications are taking place is they may not know who they’re talking to,” he said. “It could be someone posing on the internet as a peer, when in fact it is a pedophile or predator.”
Friesen said communication is key, the old-school way, parent to kid, face to face.
“I believe asking questions first before I start prying,” he said.
Or in the case of Richards, a more hands-on approach from mom.
“She’s constantly on the Sprint website checking my text messages and my internet usage and she’ll grab my phone whenever and go through it,” she explained.
Richards said she is well aware her business is also her mom’s business and phone passwords are not allowed.
“I know now that all she’s trying to do is protect me from getting involved in certain things and certain people, but before I was like, ‘oh, she’s just being nosy,’” she said.
Nosy, or in the know. Regardless, Lashbrook said the phone, seemingly glued to a teens hand, is legit for cracking any covert code.
“It’s one of the biggest keys to who your kid is, who they’re messing around with and how they treat other people, and how kids talk to your child when you’re not there,” she said.