INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – They are fun and expressive, but emojis can have a hidden meaning. And parents, listen up! The cell phone symbols can be a language of their own, especially for teens who may use emojis to talk in code.
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then emojis carry a lot of weight.
“I probably use them one every five messages,” said Andrew Edington, a junior at Center Grove High School.
It’s estimated that six billion emojis are sent every day. Happy faces and hearts are the most popular, but others are not so nice.
“We’ve got the middle finger,” said Edington.
We sat down with Edington and his mom Angie.
“The way I’m using the emojis is different than the way they are using the emojis,” said Angie.
The two agree that parents may not ‘get’ the emoji lingo.
“Like a peach is used for a butt,” said Andrew, “I think she’d just see a nutritious snack she packs in my lunches.”
In fact, produce may produce a surprising reaction for moms and dads.
Symbols like eggplants, bananas, cherries, peaches, and raindrops can have a sexual meaning.
The puppy face is a short way of calling someone the “b-word,” while the poop emoji can stand for the “s-word.”
Flowers may represent drugs, while footprints are code for beer.
“Different codes mean different things to different people,” said Commander Chuck Cohen, with the Office of Intelligence and Investigative Technologies of Indiana State Police, “More recently as emojis have become more popular, some children do associate different things with different emojis.”
Cohen said the evolution of emojis is akin to another childhood code, much like passing notes.
“Online social networking and online communication is the way children interact with each other and the rest of the world,” Cohen said.
He said parents should always monitor their child’s communication, and if you want to know what an emoji stands for, don’t be afraid to speak up.
“Sometimes that’s the best way to learn what an emoji means is to ask your kids — what that emoji means, what that symbol means,” said Cohen.
“My mom’s kind of a hip mom. She understands what’s going on, but there’s some if you use them, she’d be like why are you using that,” said Avery Drane, a Center Grove junior.
Drane said she’s a fan of “girly emojis,” but about the only hidden meaning in hers is when she tells her friends about a crush.
“Sometimes there’s the little prayer thing, it’s like thank God for this boy,” she said.
Cohen said ISP doesn’t have any instances in Indiana where a child predator tried to use emoji code to entice a minor.