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What’s that emoji?

Many youngsters will have received a new phone for Christmas – possibly their first. It’s an excellent way for you to keep in touch with your child, but it also allows others to contact them too. One feature all smartphones offer is emojis – and although on the surface most of these small digital icons seem innocent, some could have an unexpected alternative meaning. Here are some examples: ⛽☃️❄️  – These five emojis could be used to talk about cocaine – The balloon emoji is often used in connection with nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas or nos) ☠️ – MDMA or ecstasy are often represented with these emojis – Ketamine is also used as a horse tranquiliser so it is no surprise it can be represented by the horse emoji  – This long list of emojis can be linked to cannabis or cannabis edibles  – These four emojis could be used in a conversation discussing different types of drugs  – The three emojis shown here could be used to refer to a drug dealer ⚡ – The purity of drugs is what could be being discussed if these emojis are used – These four emojis could be referring to sexting Of course, it goes without saying that the use of these emojis does not necessarily mean a child is suddenly involved in drugs, or engaging in sexual behaviour! However… if you notice other signs, including changes in behaviour or performance at school, or they become increasingly secretive, then this could be a sign something is wrong. We must also say that we do not think it is a good idea to go through your child’s phone without their permission: this could lead to a break-down in trust and more risky behaviour. Both the NSPCC and Crimestoppers websites include a lot of valuable information around speaking with children, teenagers and young adults about abuse and how to start those important, yet difficult conversations.

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