What's that emoji?

Do you monitor your child's mobile phone activity?

Do you know who your child is in touch with? 

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:

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.

More information on drugs and sexual abuse, including sexting, can be found on the Derbyshire Constabulary website.