Crack your teen's secret emoji code

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But which words may not always be clear … especially when it comes to teens and emojis. 

Teens are nothing if not inventive - and when it comes to carving out privacy from prying adult eyes, their creativity can be astounding … and often troubling.

The way teens use emojis in messaging and social media is a perfect case in point. Since the explosion in smartphone ownership over the past decade or so, young people have evolved a distinctive set of meanings for dozens of common symbols. 

Some of this is just good fun - a harmless form of visual slang. In other cases, though, emojis are being used as a secret code to conceal dicey activity and thoughts - often sex- and drug-related - from parents, teachers and caregivers. 

The following list is not exhaustive - but it will give you a good idea of the way our digital teens are developing a language all their own … and the need for parents to acquire fluency.

👍It looks like a sign of agreement or “liking.” But depending on context it can mean just the opposite: “F*#! You!”

🥑 Indicates someone or something is “basic.”

🐣 “I don’t care what you think.”

💫 “I feel dizzy.”

🍆, 🍌 Penis

🥴 Drunkenness or sexual arousal

🍑 Backside

 🍒 Breasts

🌮 Vagina

🤡 “I’ve been busted!” (i.e. caught out)

💀 Hilarious!

🧠, 👅 Oral sex

🧢 A lie

💦, 🎤 Ejaculation, masturbation

🍃, 🌳, 🌱, 🥦, ✅ Marijuana

🍝 Indicates nudes (“noods”) being sent or received

👀 Nudes being seen or requested

🔨 Sex

🌶 “Hot” or risque content

 💅 “I really don’t care”

❄️ An overly sensitive person (“snowflake”), or cocaine

🔌 Drug dealer

💉 Tattoo

😤, 🤤 MDMA (“Ecstasy” or “Molly”)

🍇 Testicles

😵 I’ve seen something x-rated

🙆 Female orgasm

😮💨 Smoking, vaping

✍️ “Take my advice!”

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Topics: Cyber Bullying, Parental Controls, Screen time, Mobile Apps, Excessive Device Usage, sexting, teens on social media, drugs, emoji

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