PARENTS

What Do Fleek, Bae And FOMO Mean? 90% Of Parents Baffled By Text Speak

01/05/2015 13:48 BST | Updated 01/05/2015 13:59 BST

Parents may be the ones to first introduce their babies to the English Language, but once those children become teenagers it seems the tables start to turn and the pupils become the teachers.

If your teen received a text message that said: "Bae your TBT pic is fleek." Would you know what it meant?

Don't worry if not - 90% of parents are in the same boat as you, according to research from University College London (UCL).

social media

English language expert Professor John Sutherland at UCL was commissioned to look at how social media and mobile messaging is changing the English language, to mark the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S6.

"The study provides us with a fascinating overview of how our informal language has evolved over the last 25 years and points to a future where we will see pictorial messaging in the ascendant," he said.

"The technological evolution has meant that these words are now effectively extinct from the text speak language and are seen as 'antique text speak'."

Fleek came out on top with 43% of parents completely unaware that it means 'looking good', while FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and Bae (a term of affection, which means "before anyone else") were in the top three.

Overall, the poll found 86% of parents think their teenagers speak a completely different language when texting or on social media.

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Text Slang: The Next Generation

Familiar text speak such as GR8, LOL and OMG are no longer dominating online communication, with 80% of parents agreeing that it had changed over time.

But it's not only words that are confusing parents.

Professor John Sutherland added: "We are moving to a more pictographic form of communication with the increasing popularity of emoticons."

"In the future less words and letters will be used in messaging as pictures and icons take over the text speak language."

The top 10 terms included:

Fleek (43%) Looking good

FOMO (40%) Fear of missing out

Bae (40%) A term of affection

ICYMI (37%) In case you missed it

Deadout (36%) Rubbish or tired

TBT (36%) Throwback Thursday

LMK (36%) Let me know

RN (35%) Right now

Thirsty (35%) Looking for attention

NSFW (34%) Not safe for work

While parents may need to brush up on the lingo, there is one aspect of text speak they've got down.

The study also revealed that four in 10 parents already use visual communication on social media and messaging such as emojis.

Emojis have even been labelled a whole new digital language.

Niki Selken, co-founder of the Emoji Foundation, said: "They actually hit the same part of the brain as a facial expression does, when you use the facial emoji. You are sending a smile to a friend, literally.

"Our brains pick it up, and we might smile back when we see it, and to me that's really fascinating."

Time to get clued up on this new language? YOLO.