Social Media: Understanding a Teen's World

Last Updated: Friday, May 8, 2020

teens using cell phones (social media graphic)

When it comes to teens and drug use, social media can play a huge role.

Through different hashtags (#s) they can be exposed to offers from dealers to buy drugs through various social sites. (See news stories)

It is never too late for parents to get acquainted with the various social apps (applications), and the slang terms teens use to communicate while texting and using social media. 

Some popular ones include:

  • Instagram (app where users share photos and videos)
  • Snapchat (app where users can create and share photos, videos. The content is meant to disappear after the person views them)
  • TikTok (a social network where users can create and share videos)
  • Tumblr (users can post photos, videos, gifs and more in a microblogging format)
  • Twitch (app where users can livestream themselves playing video games and interact with viewers)


Did you know? Many of these apps are free to download from apps stores. In addition, kids are often one step ahead of their parents in the latest privacy settings, allowing them to block their “friended” parents from viewing their activity on these sites until the parent figures it out.

How do you help a child develop skills to make good choices? Ensure they use their online privileges wisely? Avoid inappropriate behavior or inaccurate information?

1. Talk to your child about the implications of their actions when using the internet and social media.

2. Monitor what your children do online and on the phone by becoming acquainted with the websites and mobile apps they use.

3. Block inappropriate content by using parental control features to monitor and manage your teen’s computer use. Buy parental control software that allows you to view recorded computer, smartphone and tablet activity from the internet.

4. Enable the restrictions tab via Safari on your children’s Smartphone to block their browsing the internet, using the camera inappropriately, or spending money at an App store.

5. Learn about the slang and the abbreviated language that kids use while texting on their cell phone, posting on social media, or DMing (direct messaging) other users on social media.

DOC Drug of Choice
PAL Parents are Listening
BRB Be Right Back
P911 Parent Alert 
420 Marijuana
KPC Keeping Parents Clueless






Find more information about protecting your child on the web. 


In the News

Drug dealers find potential young customers on Snapchat, social media (KUTV)

Teen thought he was buying OxyContin on Snapchat. Then he overdosed, Idaho police say (Idaho Statesman)

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