Liliana Venditti ‘17- Technology is constantly changing with new apps, websites, and social media updates. When there is an update, news spreads like wildfire and everyone quickly knows. Companies update their products more and more, making them appeal to certain demographics, and often taking into consideration the public’s opinion.

We see this time and time again. We wanted new filters on snapchat, we now have new filters. We wanted more picture sizing options on Instagram, we now have more sizing options. We begged for new, edgier emojis, and we got what we asked for, we got the middle finger.

The other emojis, the animals, food and weather were rapidly out shined by one derogatory hand gesture. Again, we asked for it, but when people updated their phones they were surprised.

Many are ecstatic that we finally got the changes we were asking for. They think it is a funny, new, euphemistic way to communicate their feelings. It definitely is not nearly as harsh as the physical gesture or written out word. But the cartoon signal is still offensive.

“I think it’s funny, especially because everyone has wanted it for so long it was like we were wishful thinking, but they actually made it,” said Cassie Lewandowski ‘17.

While many believe that the emoji is all fun and games, the connotation is still there. It is hard enough to detect sarcasm in a message as it is, so how is the receiver of the text supposed to understand if the person is mad or just messing around?

“I think the emoji is disrespectful and people might take it the wrong way,” said Morgan Gardner ‘16.

Not to mention that many younger children have iPods and other Apple products, so they too are exposed to the content. Parents often fear that their children are exposed to too much at too early of an age, and this is just the icing on the cake.

As a society, we shelter children for many reasons. We censor them from social media, TV, and we censor ourselves and the things we say. As a parent or babysitter, you wouldn’t go on swearing at a five year old, and most parents wouldn’t take their seven year old to an R rated movie. A caregiver would not respond lightly if they saw their beloved little angel sticking their middle finger out to their teacher or friend. So it is surely not okay to have a five or seven year old using the middle finger on their Apple products.  

Although controversial, many children use the devices for learning games and programs. Another argument is that children don’t even know what those terms or gestures mean at that age, and if that is true why would anyone choose to expose them to that and present the opportunity for them to learn what it actually means.
As a society we need to start thinking about the content we are all viewing and understand that what one individual believes is appropriate is not always the same for others. The middle finger emoji is flat-out offensive. Of course words are just words and emojis are just emojis but the idea behind those words and pictures are widely understood.

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