Are Emojis Making Us Lazy?

Some say these universal icons are critical communication tools, while others argue that they’re killing self-expression skills. Where do you stand?

Are we so lazy that we can’t be bothered to type out actual sentences anymore? Humans can communicate their thoughts better with words than with oversimplified icons. By relying on emojis, we risk letting our writing and speaking skills deteriorate. That may not seem like a big deal, but we should be training our brains now so that composing well-written sentences is second nature to us later. 

Don’t get me wrong: I know that emojis can be fun, and of course it’s fine to play around with them when you’re having a silly text conversation. But some symbols have multiple meanings, which can easily lead to miscommunication. For example, the smiley face with sunglasses could mean that it’s sunny outside, or it could mean that I’m giving shade. If my friend has to stop and wonder what I’m trying to say, that’s slowing down our conversation, not making it faster or easier. 

I also get frustrated when I text something important and my friend responds with just a thumbs-up. That shows a hurtful lack of attention. By taking the time to type out a sentence, you can demonstrate to your friend that you care about what they have to say—and that you’re ready to listen. 

Furthermore, emojis can make us lazy about self-expression, because the range of human emotions is too complex to be summed up by simple icons. If there’s something I’m sad or upset about, it’s important that I learn to express exactly how I’m feeling rather than just send my friend a frown face. That way, the person on the other end doesn’t have to guess what’s bothering me, and I get my true problem off my chest. 

I’m not saying that you should never use emojis, but we should think carefully about how we communicate online and through texts. We all have something unique to say, so as much as possible, let’s use our words to share it with the world. 

Bill Nye Explains Your Brain on the Internet
In this fun video, Bill Nye uses emojis to help explain what happens to our brains when we're on the internet.

5 Fast Facts: Emojis

1. Each type of phone has its own emoji font. For example, these are both “grinning face

with smiling eyes."

2. Emojis are used by 92 percent of people online. Women are more likely to use them than men.

3. The first batch of emojis featured 176 icons. Now there are almost 2,000 of them.

4. July 17 is World Emoji Day. (That date was chosen because it’s the date on the calendar emoji.)

5. The most tweeted emoji in the U.S. is the weary face.

Emojis aren't making me a lazy communicator. In fact, they’re actually boosting my ability to connect with other people. They allow me to better express my thoughts to my friends and family—just one more way that technology is improving our lives! 

Realistically, it doesn’t matter how skilled you are at communicating in person. It’s still incredibly easy to misunderstand someone through texts or social media posts, since you can’t see their facial expressions or hear their tone. 

Occasionally, one of my friends will tease me through a text, and if it weren’t for the smiley-face icon in the message, I might take it out of context and become offended. That little emoji that my friend adds lets me know that she isn’t really upset or angry with me—she’s just fooling around. No harm done! 

Another huge benefit of emojis is that they’re understood universally and allow people from all walks of life to share how they’re feeling. I volunteer at an organization that helps children in my area, and many of the kids I come into contact with don’t speak English. While we each may not know exactly what the other is saying, emojis allow us all to connect, and they help me show these kids that I genuinely care about them. 

On top of all that, emojis also help us communicate quickly and more efficiently with others. If I’m in a hurry, I might be able to send one that conveys the same thoughts as if I had written out an entire sentence, saving me valuable time. Plus, they’re just fun! Those little symbols can add a festive touch to a text, which is particularly nice on birthdays, holidays, or other special occasions. 

Emojis are opening up a whole new world of expression and correspondence for everyone. Instead of shaming people for using these symbols, we should celebrate that communicating with others is easier and faster than ever before.

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