Emoji appeared in 1999 with a set of 176 symbols that were meant to convey weather, traffic, technology and time. Today, there are 2,823 emoji that convey information across language, culture, lifestyle and diversity.
Emoji have become part of our everyday language, used when conveying a meaning or emotion when words aren’t enough. But what looks like a cute, harmless text symbol could mean something entirely different to your kids, who have become experts at using their own language to KPC (Keep Parents Clueless). Sometimes, all it takes is a single emoji to convey a threat, send a sexual advance, bully others, make racist comments or complete a drug deal.
Parents should be involved and not only monitor what their kids are doing, but be aware of this new and often complex ever-changing language. Below are four threats and the emoji that accompany them.
It wasn’t long ago when a teenager who wanted to buy illegal drugs had to venture into a questionable neighborhood, find the right street corner, identify the dealer and exchange cash to get their goods. Now, 75 percent of drug deals happen through social media, frequently using cute, seemingly innocent icons.
In the age of shareable snapshots, quickly-deleted posts and lightening quick texting, teens can end up in dubious situations. Technology has made it easier for predators to talk to and solicit minors, often while PIR (Parent in Room) or PAL (Parents are Listening).
Bullies go to all extremes to torment their victim while keeping their actions a secret from others. Emoji allow bullies to hide their harmful messages. While the victim understands the meaning, if caught, the bully will hide behind the original meaning of the emoji to protect themselves.
Another troubling use of emoji is when they are used to communicate about criminal and physical threats. Bombs, guns and knives are pretty straightforward. But what about these other icons that are used to threaten others? Also, did you know that emoji are now permitted to be used as evidence in court? It’s important to make sure your kids know the risk in using them.
As more emoji appear with every operating system update, it is critical to understand what they mean today, but also stay on top of what they will mean tomorrow.
TYVM HTH…(Thank You Very Much, Hope This Helps)
Kim Albarella is a visionary, strategic security leader at ADP. As the Senior Director of Security Marketing and Educational Programming within ADP’s Global Security Organization, she has strategic and operational oversight for cyber and physical security.