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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Secret Hashtags Parents Need to Know

Have you checked your child’s Instagram account lately? If not, you may want to reconsider and be sure to keep an eye open for a few secret code words hidden in their posts. 

According to a recent article on, researchers have found that young adults are using hidden hashtags to connect with others engaging in risky or self-harming behavior, including getting high, making themselves throw up, and/or cutting themselves.   

Megan A. Moreno, MD, MPH, who practices adolescent medicine at Seattle Children's Hospital, along with three colleagues, scrutinized hundreds of Instagram posts to identify which hashtags were most used by kids. They published their findings last year in the Journal of Adolescent Health — and now, many experts are determined to help parents better monitor their kids’ social media use, according to the article. 

Here's a list of the top 10 secret hashtags that parents need to know:
  1. #deb for "depression"
  2. #sue for "suicide"
  3. #ana for "anorexic"
  4. #mia for "bulimia"
  5. #ednos for "eating disorder not otherwise specified"
  6. #thinsp for "thinspo" or "thinspiration"
  7. #borderline for "borderline personality disorder"
  8. #svv for "selbstverletzendes verhalten" or self-harming behavior
  9. #secretsociety123 for a community of people who engage in NSSH, or non-suicidal self harm
  10. #420 for "weed" or "pot," which can also be represented by the maple leaf emoji, any of the green leaf or tree emojis, the pineapple (referencing the movie Pineapple Express), and the green check mark, as in "Yes, I have or can get some."
So what should you do if you find these words on one of your child’s post? "Look into this matter thoroughly," Katie Schumacher, author and founder of the initiative "Don't Press Send," told "And if you feel there is even the slightest chance that your child is engaging in self-harm or struggling with depression, be sure to talk to them in a non-confrontational, non-judgmental way. This is a good time to introduce them into self-reflection and bring in medical professionals to offer proper support and guidance."

Help for Young Adults
If you suspect that a loved one is engaging in self-destructive behaviors, don’t hesitate to call for help. Hope Academy’s credentialed addiction specialists will walk you through the admissions process, from intervention to rehab. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673

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