INDURBAN – Wednesday, 17 July marks World Emoji Day and it is estimated that 5 billion emojis are sent daily on Facebook Messenger by the 4 billion internet users online.
The word emoji literally means "picture" (e) + "character" (moji) in Japanese, and has become the universal language of short messaging. In fact, "Emoji is now the fastest growing language in the UK and evolving faster than ancient forms of communication, such as hieroglyphics," said Professor Vyv Evans of Bangor University who studied the emoji’s "speed of evolution."
According to Emojipedia, in total there are 3,019 emojis in the Unicode Standard as of March 2019, and these clever illustrations and icons have even had their own 2017 Hollywood movie.
Dean McCoubrey, Founder of MySociaLife, South Africa’s Premier 10-module Digital Life Skills Program in Schools, said, "Emojis are one area in which the generational gap around technology has been bridged. It’s simple enough for grandparents, parents, tweens, teens and younger to use, and no one feels alienated. But there are still pros and cons to consider. In our training of students, teachers and parents, we see how they have become helpful and supportive ways to express where we are in our feelings, and support the limitations of words by adding an emotion to them. However, sometimes their universal presence means the recipient could miss signals from the other person. We have become more de-sensitised to calls for help in an increasingly online world. Smart device communication has taken over most of our lives, but sometimes human contact is imperative. We see this in schools – especially around bullying, flaming, trolling and shaming. An emoji isn’t going to do the job".
What does the future hold?
"Emojis are a bit of fun. We can debate them as much as we like but they’re comfortable to many. With Samsung’s new AR Emoji and Apple’s Animoji, and a new generation of headsets and VR glasses set to explode over the next 12 months, I suspect that we will soon be using AR emojis next, and way more than we currently think. After all, we didn’t think the world would change as quick as it has. We teach kids this simple foundation: With technology we need to get safe and smart first before we explore and excel."
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