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Emoji's considered threatening

By Devon Canty
On April 12, 2016

Earlier this month a 12-year-old girl was arrested and charged with threatening her school using emoji’s.   The girl posted a series of words and emoji’s on Instagram that police considered a threat.   After this was posted, someone reported it to police officials.  The girl’s mother claims she’s never been in trouble and was often a victim of bullying.            

This news raised attention all over the country; can explicit emoji’s be considered a threat to police, schools or other students? Emoji’s originated in Japan, and recently made its way to the United States.  Anyone that owns a smartphone is capable of accessing any of the hundreds of emoji’s that are available.  In 2015, nearly two-thirds of Americans owned a smartphone.  Those who don’t own a smartphone are still able to use emoji’s on their PCs. 

Sienna Fadley, a Kirkwood student, had a different view on the issue.  “They shouldn’t be taken serious. You can’t kill someone with emoji’s.  Especially a 12 year old girl,” she stated.  “I believe emoji’s appropriate are at anytime, with the exception of a serious conversation.” 

This isn’t the first situation of emoji’s being considered a threat over social media.  June 2015 two men were arrested for using “threatening” emoji’s to an unnamed man.  Allegedly the emoji’s intention was they were going to beat the man up, sending him to the hospital. 

“There have been new ways of handling situations like these through social media that has gotten some people in trouble, people have to be more aware of they post on social media,” Sam Koehn mentioned. 

With the recent trouble emoji’s have brought many people, could our generation slightly be obsessed with emoji’s.  “I’m very familiar with emoji’s.  I use them often to add emotion to messages so there not miss interrupted,” Fadley said. 

Emoji’s are not the same as emoticons, which can be created by the person using them. Koehn had a different take on the obsession over emoji’s.  “Emoji’s are used quite often but I don’t see an obsession over them,” he said. 

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