Monday, October 22, 2012

How to think like a teenager. (not really).

I have spent many years as a youth worker and before that I was a teen myself.  I like to think that I am a relatable guy when it comes to youth issues. 

However, the only real experts are the youth themselves.  To prove this point I recently asked a group of youth workers what the following youth culture slang meant, they didn't get any right.  Lets see how you do:


 Is it a new product from Apple Corporation?  Nope: This phrase indicates the time delay of time from when the light turns green and the movement of the car because someone is looking down while using their phone.


Interestingly enough as our world becomes more digital how certain phrases that we use become out of date.  In this case, if you were having a traditional conversation with someone and they gave you shocking news you might say that you were speechless.  However you can't be speechless where no speech is involved.  Hence in a text message or online conversation you would be "typeless".


If someone takes something of value from a store it is called shoplifting.  However, what is  is called if you leave something of value in a store or a public place?  I guess it is called droplifting.  Apparently some youth use techniques such as this to promote their CD's and art is public places.


To Truthenize someone is to use "truth" to destroy someone's self image.  It is hurtful truth.


This is a phrase I hear way to often.  It is an acronym describing a lifestyle philosophy akin to "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" however this is much less health: SWED stands for smoke weed every day. With the idea that you shouldn't be held down to the ideals of society against weed as a drug.


Yolo is another acronym meaning: You Only Live Once and while it can be used to describe a healthy motivation, it generally is used as a defense for teens risky behavior such as excessive drinking.

For me, I don't generally try to add words like this to my vocabulary, as kids would recognize it as not being genuine, however it is excellent for me to be fluent in their culture and understanding how they speak and how they think.  The best thing to do when they use a phrase you don't know is to ask.  Become an expert by asking the experts.  Teens themselves.
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