A Lesson in Deciphering Your Kids’ Emojis and Texts

The digital icons are becoming the way to communicate

My millennial daughter punctuated her text message using three emojis with alien faces. I texted her back, “Are u saying I am strange?”

Turns out she’d actually sent smiley faces, but my phone’s old operating system had somehow changed those grins to aliens.

Since surfacing in the 1990s, as shorthand for expressing thoughts and feelings, emojis have become part of our texting vocabulary. Many of us stick to basics such as the “crying tears of joy” face, so popular that this emoji was named the 2015 word of the year by Oxford University Press. Everyone from the White House to a crowdsourced version of Moby Dick have embraced emojis.

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