October 21, 2022

Students cancel the “thumbs-up” emoji + 9 more

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Emojis have been a staple of online communication since 2011 when Apple added an official emoji keyboard to iOS. Since then, emojis have been used in various ways– to express emotions, emphasize a point, or even make jokes. Many students are very familiar with emojis and use them on a daily basis as a fun way to communicate with friends. 

For some, however, emojis can have hidden meanings behind them. Recently, a Redditor expressed that the thumbs-up emoji can come across as rude, hostile, and passive-aggressive and students are agreeing, seemingly canceling the “thumbs up” emoji and nine others. 

Emojis canceled by students

A Reddit user recently asked, “Am I not adult enough to be comfortable with the thumbs-up emoji?” Which has sparked a discussion with people from different generations chiming in. A common thread among Gen Zers is that the thumbs-up emoji comes across as rude. Older generations disagree and say they use it all the time in the workplace to simply say, “I approve” or “I understand.”

Another emoji causing a divide on Reddit is the red heart ”❤️” emoji, with people commenting that it is even more inappropriate to use in the workplace. Redditors felt like the red heart emoji should be reserved for close friends and family. 

The thumbs-up and red heart emojis are not the only ones that have fallen out of favor. A poll of 2,000 people was done by Perspectus Global. The survey developed a list of emojis that if used means you are “officially old”. This list includes:  

  1. Thumbs-up 👍
  2. Red heart ❤️
  3. “OK” hand 👌
  4. Checkmark ✅
  5. Poo 💩
  6. Loud crying face 😭
  7. Monkey covering eyes 🙈
  8. Clapping hands 👏
  9. Lipstick kiss mark 💋
  10. Grimacing face 😬

TSI’s take on using emojis to communicate

Students and adults might not see eye-to-eye on which emojis to use and when, but they are a real means of communication in this tech-driven world. In fact, PBS for Parents found that using emojis during lessons helps students better understand what they learned.

Now more than ever students are communicating online with each other, with their families, and even with their teachers, so it’s important for everyone to be on the same page regarding what each emoji means to avoid confusion. For example, you wouldn’t want to come across as rude if you sent a student a harmless “thumbs up” emoji. 

Staying up-to-date on the ever-changing trends among students (like their use of emojis!) isn’t easy. That’s why we are in constant communication with students through our Student Ambassador Program. Through this program, we ensure our content is always relevant and engaging to students. Contact us to discover how #WinAtSocial can help you connect with students on their level and build stronger relationships.

The Social Institute (TSI) is the leader in understanding student experiences and creator of #WinAtSocial, a gamified, online learning platform that equips students, educators, and families to navigate social experiences — online and offline — in healthy ways. Our unique, student-respected approach incorporates topics like social media, technology use, and current events that have a significant impact on student well-being. Lessons teach life skills for the modern day to inspire high-character decisions that support the health, happiness, and future success of students, while capturing data that provides insights to school leaders to inform school policy and communications, and enable high-impact teaching and a healthy learning environment. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities.