Digital technology evolves so fast that it’s hard for parents to keep up with. In this blog post, you’ll learn some of the language that you might hear adolescents using. It’s important for parents to understand social media terms that adolescents are using.


Basic Social Media Actions


Posting usually refers to sharing a piece of information online. Generally the information is related to how you’re feeling, a thought you had, and so on. Posting could also mean putting an article, photo, or video online. On facebook, a post can be shared, liked, or commented on. Users can post status updates about how their day is going  or anything else they want to share.

People’s statuses can be found on their Facebook wall, which is just a list of status updates on their profile page. All your friends can see what you post on Facebook, however you can change who gets to see what post in the settings of each post.


Tweeting is nearly the same as posting except everyone who follows you can see it.


Subscribing is similar to signing up for a subscription to the newspaper. For example, on Youtube, it’s possible to subscribe to mutliple people who produce videos you like. First, it’s important to note that not all people who watch videos on Youtube have accounts.

People without accounts cannot create playlists, post comments, post videos, subscribe and so on. When you have an account on Youtube (meaning you signed up to be a user), you can subscribe to other users. Whenever that specific user creates a video, you will get an email to notify you of it. You can also choose to unsubscribe to someone.


Following is similar to subscribing. When you follow someone on Twitter, you will see everytime they tweet in your feed. The Twitter feed is just a list of tweets by all the people you follow. You can also choose to unfollow someone.


Usually this word is used with Facebook. Friending someone simply means that two parties agree to become Facebook friends. To become friends with anyone, you need to first send them a “friend request” and they must accept the request. This is where privacy settings are involved. If you set your privacy settings to only allow your friends to see your facebook updates (posts, photos, and so on), then you can ensure that only your friends see what you post.


Liking is just a way to show your approval for a specific post. People ‘like’ things because they are funny, entertaining, nice to look at, and so on.


Uploading just means you’re putting something that takes up memory onto the internet. When you upload something to Facebook like a photo, that could mean you took a photo on your phone and then made a copy of it on your Facebook. All social media platforms allow for uploading. You can upload photos, videos, audio, and text.


Commenting is usually available underneath posts, photos, videos, status updates, links to articles, and so on. Comments are also where cyberbullying can occur.


If you see a friend’s post that you enjoyed and think your own friends would enjoy, you can choose to share it. This way your friends become exposed to the content you shared. Usually people share videos, articles, and photos. It’s not as often that people share status updates.



What is @?

On Twitter, if you want another user to see something, you place the @ in front of their username. This allows the user to see the tweet you ‘mentioned’ them in.

What is a hashtag?

Imagine a huge filing cabinet with tons of folders. Each folder has a label. The hashtag is similar to a label. Every time you hashtag something, it’s like you’re putting that item (a tweet) into a folder. You can create new hashtags or you can use hashtags that already exist.

Hashtags are used on social media websites like Twitter and Facebook, but they’ve started extending themselves on other websites as well.

Hashtags can be used to cyberbully specific people. For example someone could decide to talk poorly about someone in a tweet and add #xyz somewhere in the tweet. Then if another person decides to do the same thing, more horrible things gets stored away under #xyz. Now if someone decides to search for the #xyz they will be able to read every comment that has #xyz in it.

Still confused about hashtags? Click here for more information:


For more definitions go to:


Apart from all learning social media terms, it’s important for you to learn about privacy settings on social media to protect your family. Moreover, it’s just as important to talk about cyberbullying with your children. If you want to learn more about social media, you can always ask your child. Here is an example of a family history activity you and your child can do on social media.

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