When you scroll through posts on your teenagers’ Instagram accounts or watch their latest TikTok videos, you might find yourself shaking your head and saying, “I don’t get it.” No generation of parents has ever completely understood the mind or language of their teenage children, so a certain level of confusion is expected.
But if you take a look at their captions and comments and don’t understand everything you read, don’t brush it off as language lost in translation. It might be worth digging a little deeper because kids are using these 10 secret hashtags to communicate dangerous behaviors without raising red flags to parents.
Why are kids even using secret hashtags?
In short, like any secret language, it’s to be sneaky. Social media platforms are getting stricter about cracking down on dangerous behavior or inappropriate content and parents are being more diligent about monitoring pages.
Why not just post the photo with a caption?
It’s because they are looking for community and connection. Searching a secret hashtag and finding other kids who feel the same way makes them feel less alone. Or, in the case of illegal or immoral behavior, finding community via secret hashtags gives them someone who will counter the arguments you’re giving against the behavior.
As one parent said, “My greatest competition as a parent: support groups. If I disagree with my kids in real life, they will find someone who agrees with them online and help them have a defense against me.”
So get to know this list of hashtags and let us know in the comments if you are aware of others.
1. #deb = “depression”
2. #sue = “suicide”
The good news is if you type “#sue” into the search box on Instagram, you’ll get a warning pop-up. It reads, “Can we help? Posts with words or tags you’re searching for often encourage behavior that can cause harm and even lead to death. If you’re going through something difficult, we’d like to help.”
3. #ana = “anorexic” and #proana = pro-anorexic
4. #mia = “bulimia” and #promia = pro-bulimia
5. #ednos = “eating disorder not otherwise specified”
6. #thinsp = “thinspo” or “thinspiration”
7. #tina = crystal meth
8. #cu46 = “see you for sex”
9. #svv = “selbstverletzendes verhalten” or self-harming behavior
10. #secretsociety123 = a community of people who engage in NSSH, or non-suicidal self-harm
Bonus: The ✔️ emoji = marijuana (looking for or able to provide), but there are several other emoji that represent drug use, too.
Sound off: Are there any other secret hashtags, emoji, or code you’ve learned?