What Does SOS Mean? SOS Meaning, Use Cases & More

Elsa Updated on Jul 26, 2023 Filed to: Teen Slang

Language constantly evolves, and familiar and unfamiliar words take on new meanings. It can be an issue with our digital communications and how much children are exposed to online communications today. Knowing what is being said by friends and others online is especially important for parents.

As a parent, you want to watch your children online to ensure they are not being bullied or have other concerns, but text slang can make that difficult. For instance, knowing what SOS means is important if you see a text including SOS. Let's look at the phrase and how it is used today so you know whether it is something to be concerned about.

1SOS Meaning as a Lang

SOS is an acronym that stands for 'Save Our Ship', it is well-known as another phrase to get help from others. It was introduced in 1906 as a maritime distress signal, with the Titanic one of the first ships to use it. All language evolves, though, and SOS has become synonymous with 'help'. It stopped being just for maritime use by the middle of the 20th century, and today it has become something else.

While SOS evolved into a general cry for help, including a chart-topping song by Swedish pop sensations ABBA, your children are using it too. But the SOS meaning in text and other online messengers and apps is slightly different. It is used to show distress but is often used in a more jokey manner about less serious things, although it can mean a problem too.

SOS meaning: Save Our Ship

The key is knowing what SOS stands for if your kid uses it in context. If the conversation is about something trivial, it is likely joking.

For instance, if a friend messages "Harry Styles has a new girlfriend" and responds, "Nooo, SOS!" it is not serious.

However, a text saying, "Andy sent an SOS, his parents are arguing again, can he stay here tonight?" is more serious.

2Another SOS Meaning

SOS stands for 'help' or similar in those conversations, but you may see SOS used differently. Text, messenger and Facebook SOS can also include statements such as "Just so you know, SOS." It doesn't fit the 'help me' meaning, even the jokey version, so what does SOS mean in this scenario?

It actually stands for Someone Over Shoulder. It is basically telling the other person someone can see the messages. Obviously, if your child uses it this way, they are trying to hide something. However, that doesn't always mean it is something bad. It may be chatting with friends about a crush or other topic they are embarrassed for you to see, but it does say that there is something not quite right. Time to keep a closer watch on their online activity. 

SOS meaning: Someone Over Shoulder

3Talking about SOS Meaning to Your Kids

If you see TikTok SOS used by your kids or on any other platform, talk to them about it. While it is innocuous most of the time, if they ask for help or do not want to talk in front of you, there may be a problem.

When you have concerns, you will want to talk to your child about them, but knowing the best way to approach the subject can be problematic. If you come straight out and ask what SOS mean in the text, they may become defensive, but there are other ways to come at the problem.

talk with child

The most common SOS definition is about safety, so a good way to talk to them about SOS on Twitter or other platform use is to start there. Explain that you always want them to be safe and think having a single code word for trouble could help. If they have problems, they should text you SOS, and you will know they need help. 

It is a good idea, but you can ask if they use SOS for anything else. You can then ease into the situation to see what they are thinking.

4Avoid Confrontation over SOS Meaning Slang

That approach can lead you into a discussion about what SOS means without being confrontational. One of the biggest challenges when dealing with online behaviour is that being too forceful when approaching the subject can lead to a reluctance to discuss things, and every attempt turns into a confrontation instead.

That approach will not help you understand if your child uses the SOS funny meaning or has some issue they need help with. You know the SOS definition, so the goal is to encourage the child to open up about any problem, not demanding an answer for what SOS mean in the text.

encourage the child to open up

A less direct approach can help you understand whether their Facebook SOS message or any online text is something to worry about. 

5Monitor Text Messages and Get Notifications of Slang like SOS

As parents, we can't help but worry about our children, and the online world can be uncertain. While they may be using an S.O.S., meaning that it is harmless, it is still an area where you will have concern for your kids. That is where AirDroid Parental Control comes in.

AirDroid Parental Monitoring

It is a dedicated app that allows you to monitor your kid's activity on their mobile devices. With this one app, you can keep an eye on text messages, messenger apps and more and get notifications about suspicious messages to get ahead of problems of cyberbullying, self-harm and even suicide. 

But it is not just messages that can be an issue for your children where mobile devices are concerned, and Airdroid is here to help with all aspects of device usage. You can also use the app to control what apps are installed on the device. It can protect the child from inappropriate games, gambling and other problematic tools, porn, etc.

With the comprehensive parental control app, you can give your children the freedom they want while keeping them protected at the same time.

Try it for free now.

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Elsa has worked on a number of iOS & Android solutions, she can always find her way around almost any application. She is an accomplished, skilled and versatile writer with more than 7 years of technical article writing experience.
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