Who’d ever think those silly little yellow circular faces and other such cyber symbols would become such a worldwide smash? I’m talking about emoticons, also known as emojis. Five years ago Apple put an emoji keyboard on its mobile devices. Six billion of these doggone things are sent every day.
But a story at kdvr.com says this isn’t as innocent as it seems.
The story mentions Sheila Allison and her 12-year-old who regularly communicate via emojis. For instance, Allison’s job means she’s not home when her daughter is going to bed, so she sends emojis for zzzz’s, kisses and princess. (There’s an emoji for everything, and not all of them are faces; some are animals, fruits and other symbols.)
So expansive is the emoji language that a person may be considered fluent in it, knowing the hidden meanings of these icons.
Mike Harris hunts down pedophiles for a living, says the article. He’s fluent in emoji, knowing over 1,200 of the icons. He points out that one emoji may have three or four different meanings.
There’s even a Speak Emoji app that translates “emojiese.” The symbols can be used to bully and threaten. They can be used to communicate any number of messages, such as, “Got any crack?”
There are emojis with very concrete meanings, such as bomb, gun and knife symbols. Others are a bit more cryptic, though sending the emoji of a frog to someone you recently called “ugly” should have an obvious interpretation.
- Dog (even cute) emoji = b–ch.
- Pile of poop = sh*t.
- Harris explains that the sequence of a running-man emoji and a bowling ball emoji means “I’m going to hit you.”
- Guess what a scared face, knife and shower means.
- Harris adds that a peach can mean erotic. So can raindrops.
- Context is important; two people discussing the weather and sending raindrop emojis are meaning rain, nothing more.
- Anyone whose head is in the gutter will use the banana emoji.
- Meanings can be invented spur of the moment: sending the pig emoji to an overweight person or when discussing cops. An emoji of a shark (I’m sure there’s one) can refer to a lawyer.
- But a very non-contextual emoji is footprints; this can mean beer.
Sorry, don’t shoot the messenger! Just giving all those over 30 a heads up!
Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.