What Does TBH Mean: Decoding Teen Communication

What Does TBH Mean: Decoding Teen Communication

As parents, you need to learn terms and slang to protect your children from potential online dangers. Plus, it also helps you stay in the know, which is great to ensure healthy communication with them.

One term that usually baffles parents is “TBH”. If you hear or see your children using the term during conversations with friends, you may wonder whether it’s something you should be worried about. Read on to learn its meaning and keep yourself up to date. Let’s get started!

Demystifying ‘TBH’: A Teen Acronym

If you’ve seen or heard your kids use TBH, it means “to be honest” or “to be heard”. Often, you will see the term at the beginning or end of a sentence when used online. TBH can be applied to different contexts such as expressing opinions, admitting something, or commenting.

Where Teens Drop ‘TBH’: Common Situations

Often, teenagers want to freely express their opinions even if they are unusual or controversial. During these instances, they will include TBH in their comment, message, or post. Adding it to their statements can increase emphasis. However, if their message/comment is perceived as unkind or insensitive, TBH somewhat softens the blow of what they’re trying to express.

The Art of Honesty: Understanding ‘TBH’ in Context

TBH was first added in early 2000 to the Urban Dictionary, and it immediately grew in popularity. Generally, the slang helps channel one’s frankness, or it tones down the vibe when teens try to honestly express their feelings about a person/thing.

Here’s an example: if your teen wants to be candid about their opinion, they’d likely say this, “TBH, I hate eating cafeteria food.”

Like other online terms and slang, TBH has evolved and has been improvised by a few users. For instance, on Instagram, younger individuals use the term when making new connections/friends or when complimenting others. How does it work? They trade actions and use TBH like it’s a noun.

An example is this: your teen may post things like, “Comment and Like my post to get a TBH”. Once a person comments and likes it, your teen will comment something like, “TBH I love your style and vibes!”

TBH in exchange for follows/likes is often complimentary. Today, it’s a common way for the younger generation to connect and communicate with people to get that confidence boost.

Aside from positives, TBH can also be used in conversations to insult another person by saying, “TBH, I dislike your fashion sense.”

Why ‘TBH’ Resonates with Teens

TBH resonates with teens because it is mostly associated with saying something nice about others. It also acts as a way to connect with others, allowing teens to follow it up with, “We should talk more!”

On Instagram, they can post a picture with the caption, “Like to get a TBH” or “Comment for a TBH.” Once they receive a comment, like, or a follow, the individual posting will give the commenter/liker/follower a TBH on their last comment.

There are multiple reasons why teens do this. They may want to connect with other people they find cool or interesting, boost confidence, or receive more followers and likes.

Generally, a TBH for teens is one way for them to talk to someone they don’t usually communicate with. Often, they want to interact with friends of friends or someone they look up to. Additionally, it’s a way for them to let certain people know how they feel about them.

Parental Perspective: Grasping ‘TBH’ Slang

Using shortened words as part of regular online communication is part of the trend among the current generation. Terms like TBH may confuse you, especially if you haven’t fully understood what it means and how it’s used.

TBH simply means “to be honest” and can have positive and negative connotations, depending on the message that precedes or follows. These days, its use has become a trend among people on Instagram when giving compliments or telling someone what they want.

It’s often used for friends, people they rarely interact with, and even romantic interests. However, it can also be used for followers and people they want to collaborate with.

Aside from that, TBH may also be used to share an opinion that may be negative. Overall, it depends on the context. TBH and other shortened online slang are closely associated with the text message culture. Today, the youth continue to use it in social networking sites, gaming, forums, and online chats.

Before smartphones, mobile phones had multi-tap keypads, where each number key had three to four letters, which made typing words inefficient. Slow texting and character limit likely caused the popularity of shortened phrases like TBH.

Slang has existed long ago, and it just changed through the years. Each generation has its own style of slang, making each of these unique.

Nurturing Open Dialogues with Your Teen

When your kids reach their teenage years, they’ll likely seek independence. As a result, getting into their world and knowing their generation’s culture and language can be difficult. Here’s how you can start conversations with your teens regarding the TBH slang:

  • “I saw TBH in your message notification. What does it mean?”
  • “Are these acronyms like a trademark among your friends when it comes to digital messages?”
  • “Is it better to use acronyms or emojis?”
  • “What else does TBH stand for?”

Tech-Savvy Parenting: Tools to Navigate Slang

Knowing modern internet slang like TBH can help you navigate social media easily and understand what your kids are exposed to. Aside from that, it will help manage their digital habits.

Keep your kids safe on the internet and avoid potential danger by using parental control apps. Such tools can help you block inappropriate websites, set schedules and time limits for going online, and track your kids’ locations.

While TBH is usually used in a positive sense and doesn’t have any dangerous connotations, other terms can be much more sinister. It’s best to try and be open and honest with your children but a parent control app is a great way to keep them safe.

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