Everyone these days seems to have serious affection for emojis. Every time an updated collection is announced the whole internet rejoices at the prospect of finally being able to use a unicorn in their everyday conversations.
Taking this love of animated characters into account, Vodafone Ireland has launched their #BeStrong initiative to help combat the problem of cyberbullying.
A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Vodafone found that one in every four Irish teenagers has been cyber-bullied. 29 per cent of those teenagers admitted to feeling completely alone and 25 per cent revealed that as a result of cyber-bullying they had experienced suicidal thoughts.
However, nine out of ten teens said that they would find it easier to cope with bullies if they had the support of their friends on social media. While many said they would find it hard to find the right words to use to show support to a friend being bullied, 74 per cent of Irish teens said they would use an emoji to express support for their friend.
The #BeStrong campaign aims to provide teens with a collection of emojis which they can use to show each other support online when. Vodafone CEO Anne O'Leary explained:
"It is difficult for young people to show compassion and support for their friends in words if they are being bullied online. We have all been tongue-tied teenagers at some stage and have difficulty expressing what we feel. I hope that our research and the new emojis will be of some help in the battle against cyber bullying."
The emojis chosen for the campaign were selected by the 5,000 teens surveyed. The selection was designed by Vodafone and its anti-bullying panel which Berkeley University Professor Dacher Keltner – the psychologist who advised on the creation of the characters for Pixar film Inside Out.
The emojis are available for download and there is also a special video that highlights the importance of teens being able to support one another through instances of bullying.