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Kids' Phone Safety Blog

Parenting Guide To the World of Hashtags

October 5, 2016
what does this hashtag mean

With the advent of social media, hashtags have become hugely popular among teenagers. Hashtags are commonly used on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, etc. Many posts are accompanied by at least a few of them. Some of the most popular hashtags on Instagram are #selfie, #love, #cute, #instadaily, #instamood, #friends. Some go-ahead teenagers even do business on social media using such hashtags as #tagforlikes, #like4like, #follow4follow, #likeme, #followme, etc.

For many parents, though, these little symbols still seem mysterious. To understand the world of teenagers better, let’s take a closer look at this well-liked invention of the new generation.

What does hashtag mean?

So, what is hashtag? To put it simply, it is a common symbol used before a relevant keyword to categorize it and create a thread of conversations. It looks like this: #. Don’t get confused if you see such names as a pound sign, hash, or number sign. All of them are synonyms to the hashtag. If used properly, hashtags may become a powerful marketing tool. Now when you got familiar with the hashtag definition, let’s proceed to the proper usage of these peculiar pound signs.

How to use hashtags in a smart way

Hashtags are aimed to strengthen the teenager’s voice on the Internet and to involve them in the larger discussion. Usually, teens use many hashtags – up to 10 – to promote their posts. This increases the chances of being noticed by other users and get additional likes and shares.

Hashtag by teens

Source: soldsie.com

The pound signs are supposed to be specific and relevant to the post. The biggest luck is to get a new follower. The more followers on Instagram you have, the cooler you are. If you think your teenager doesn’t care about this, in 99% of cases you’re wrong.

Various types of hashtags

Hashtags can be very different. Some of them are neutral, and others are just fun. They can be used to express love, humor, happiness, interest, etc. But there is also a particular group of concerning hashtags. If you pay a closer attention what hashtags your teen uses, you may get valuable insights. Such hashtags as #loneliness, #depression, #fear, #anxiety may become real red flags. Let’s consider the last group in more detail.

Alarming hashtags

If you are the parent of the teenage girl, the hashtags she uses can tell you a lot about her concerns. For example, the following hashtags can signal serious digestion problems or even psychological diseases: #bulimia, #fat, #helpme, #diet, #anorexia, #hunger, #pain, #skinny, #slim, #nofood, #panic, #loseweight. By using these hashtags, she tells people about her problems and asks them for help. Support your kid and help her overcome the difficulties.

Some teenagers feel so despaired and broken that they use hashtags like #death, #suicide, #kill, #anger, #despair, #goodbye, #forgiveme, #victim, #theend, #nolife, #alone, #lastdayofmylife. Such hashtags are triggered by deep emotions of frustration and disappointment. In this case, time is extremely precious. Be compassionate and supportive. Show your understanding and willingness to help. Talk to your teenager and ask a specialist for advice if needed.

depression hashtags

Source: instagram.com

Unfortunately, bullying hashtags are also common in social media. The Internet has never been a secure place. You as a parent must remember this. Hiding behind the monitors, some teenagers start intimidating their peers and post offensive things about them. Among bulling hashtags one can mark out the following:

  • #wtf = what the f***,
  • #rab = rude a** b***h,
  • #gokillyourself,
  • #thebiggestloser,
  • #derp = stupid,
  • #thot (#thotties) = a promiscuous girl,
  • #subtweet = talking about someone but not mentioning their name,
  • #bizzle = another word for b***h,
  • #whore,
  • #yag = you are gay,
  • #yous**k and others.

If you think that your kid is being victimized, give a hand and protect them.

No wonder that using bullying hashtags caught the attention of the general public. To fight them, people began to use antibullying hashtags like #stopbullying, #antibullying, #suicideprevention, #stopthestigma, #gethelp, #stopselfharm, #bullyingawareness, #mentalhealth, #mentalhealthadvocates, #mentalhealthsupport, #oneloveonelife, #live. This way they show their support and compassion. However, you shouldn’t expect that someone else would help your teen. The stakes are too high.

Parents should pay attention to the social life of their children. Hashtags, in particular, can be helpful insights and provide significant information about the teen’s mental health. Hence, they cannot be ignored. In case there are some alarming hashtags in the teen’s posts on social media, it is a high time to talk to the child and show parental care and love. This will help them overcome difficulties and get back on the right path.

Do you check what hashtags your kids use? Share your ideas with us!

Petra Lipfer
Petra Lipfer is a freelance blogger living in Orlando, Florida. She is passionate about everything concerting writing and the Internet. She is married and has two beautiful kids. She has a degree in Management and has taken several IT courses. Petra is a certified specialist in child online security. She enjoys blogging on everything concerning children, their security and parenthood in general. You can contact
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