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Emoji’s Are Getting Kids in Trouble with the Law

Mar 04, 2016

One of the most unexpected social movements of the 21st century has undoubtedly been the one fostered by emojis. These cartoon emoticons that express everything from joy, to sadness, to sexual innuendos for penises have been the tiny forms of communications no one realized they needed. So like everything in life, these tiny yellow cultural phenomenon can on occasion, be taken the wrong way. Whether it be using the wrong blushing face on a friend you’re not trying to get with, or that cute girl from the bar thinking you’re a creep for expressing your joy in how large your eggplants have grown this harvest, sometimes things just get lost in translation. Well, thanks to the old heads continuing to not quite understand the millennial generations and all our customs, we can now consider emojis a gateway for expressing criminal activity…

A preteen in Fairfax Virginia will be facing criminal charges for issuing what has been deemed threatening emojis on Instagram. On a friend’s photo the girl commented “Killing *gun emoji*….. meet me at the library Tuesday *gun, knife, and bomb emojis*.” The police officer stationed at the school began questioning other students at the middle school and eventually took the girl into custody. While it was decided that the emoji filled message posed no true threat, the girl will be seen before a juvenile court of law for computer harassment. This incident has reignited the debate as to how seriously emojis and other things that aren’t necessarily words, should be taken when it comes to issues that may concern the safety of others. The question at large is just how much caution should people use when using these playful digital images, and if its law enforcements job to monitor said usage for the safety of a community. If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from this, it’s that in this PC world, we should all be a bit careful if you’re trying to tell bae that they’re “the bomb”. Check out Buzzfeeds coverage of the laughing face emoji being Oxford’s Word of the Year below.