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cyber bullying

Newly proposed emojis aim to tackle cyber bullying

Image credit: Dreamstime

A campaign has been launched by Tory MP candidate Penny Mordaunt to introduce emojis designed to tackle abusive online behaviour.

A series of draft emojis have been mocked up and sent to the Unicode Consortium, the body tasked with approving the universal emojis available online, for consideration.

Six anti-bullying emoji designs were created, including someone holding up a yellow card and a whisteblower. The campaign received the backing of the Jo Cox Foundation, a charity set up in the name of the murdered MP.

The concept sketches were designed by Iconfactory with the intention of addressing the behaviour of cyber bullies in a friendly, non-confrontational way.

Mordaunt said the issue “affects politicians but also many others in public life, from school governors to public servants to charity trustees".

“It is my hope that these new tools can help us all create the social norms that are so lacking online.”

The petition – also supported by Hollaback, which aims to tackle harassment, and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London – comes amid increased concern about abusive behaviour, particularly on social media.

Former MPs Caroline Spelman, Nicky Morgan, Louise Ellman and Heidi Allen have all cited abuse as contributing to their decision not to run in the General Election.

Research by Amnesty International found that 1.1 million abusive or problematic tweets were sent to women in 2017, after it analysed 228,000 tweets sent to 778 female politicians and journalists from across the political spectrum in the UK and US.

Facebook recently updated its community standards to forbid use of certain emojis for the purposes of sexual solicitation such as the aubergine emoji, which is typically used to represent a penis.

A study last year found that the majority of British adults believe the English language is in decline partially due to overuse of emojis.

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