Is That Emoji Really Just An Emoji?

Written by on January 18, 2018

Is That Emoji Really Just An Emoji?

I was watching a show on television recently about teens and how technology affects young people in today’s high schools.  The show included two child psychologists that were talking about cyberbullying and teens.  They began to discuss sexting and the secret emoji language that teens are using.  Now, I am not totally naïve, and I do realize that emoji’s have been used as symbols for other things, such as in a sexual way, but I did not realize the extent to which these emoji’s are being used.  I began to google and try to learn more about this secret language.  I learned that a person who is fluent in emoji can carry on a full conversation with another person using only emoji’s, and unless the reader understands emoji, they will have no clue what is being said.  This form of communication is being used during sexting, in illegal activities, and to bully other teens.

Some may already be aware that a taco and an eggplant represent female and male sex organs.  The peach also represents the buttocks.  These are just the basics though.  There are different combinations of emojis that can mean different things.  For example, the camel emoji with ‘ing’ after it represents humping.  Sometimes, a honey pot is used in place of the taco, and a banana is used in place of the eggplant.  A frog can be used to say a person is ugly, while scissors mean “I’m going to cut you.”  Another example is the running man and a bowling ball combination means “I’m going to hit you.”

One of the most difficult aspects of this for parents is that it is not consistent.  A pig could literally mean a pig, or it could mean police.  Raindrops could be referring to the weather, or they could be symbolic of a sexual act.  This is where parents need to get informed and be aware.  If the raindrops are in a combination with a fruit emoji, for example, it is possible that the text is referring to something sexual.

Parents, learn this language.  Don’t assume when you look at your teens phone that it is all just a bunch of cute emoji’s.  It may be just that, but it also could be more.  Here are some suggestions where parents can go for references on the emoji language:



AOL. (2016, May 11). Parents Beware: Kids are using this secret emoji language. Retrieved from


Larry is the Program Director of the iMAD Program. As a community leader, he is dedicated to helping youth make healthy choices.

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