Business Insider has recently reported about a 12-year-old from Fairfax, VA., that has been charged with threatening her school after police said she posted a message on Instagram in December laden with gun, bomb and knife emojis. It read in part:
“meet me in the library Tuesday”
🔫 🔪 💣
The girl’s mom argued that the girl had posted the message in response to being bullied at school. “She’s a good kid. She’s never been in trouble before,” the woman said. “I don’t think it’s a case where there should have been charges.”
While the choice of emoji is not ideal, should using these emojis be reason enough to get the kid arrested? Recently a grand jury in New York City had decided whether 👮 🔫 represented a true threat to police officers. Since these images are becoming more and more a part of our day-to-days lives judges are being asked to interpret the meaning of a face with a tongue sticking out: :P.
“I think something is definitely lost in translation,” Pratt said of the police interpreting the teens’ emoji use. “These kids are not threatening cops, they are just trying to say, ‘I’m tough.’ It’s posturing.”
Ultimately, what everyone is wondering is what is the actually meaning behind these emojis and should they even be considered for evidence?
This may be a interesting discussion to have with your kids tonight as they are texting away on their phones. See who’s side in this debate they fall on and ask them if they would consider the post on Instagram a threat to their school or if they think the kid was just posting a normal post.