Police have shared an eye-opening guide into the dark meanings of many emojis being sent by children.
The secret code shows that the vibrant emoticons aren’t always what they seem and in some cases are being used to convey messages around drugs and sex.
So, while strawberries, snowflakes and a pair of eyes could all seem innocent, combined with other signs they could have alternative meanings.
The list explains that kids have been using the strawberry, dog, cherries, cake, ice cream or leaves to imply cannabis.
While the aubergine or peach emoji could indicate sex.
The guide also shows that an alien or a mask could be used to mean MDMA, while a petrol pump or snowflake can be used for cocaine.
Even the fist or rocket emojis aren’t what they seem as they could be sent to explain how powerful substances are.
Meanwhile a pair of eyes could show someone is a drug dealer and a horse can be used to mean ketamine.
The list has been put together by Surrey Police in its latest campaign to make parents more aware of the secret codes their children could be using.
“We really want parents and guardians to feel confident to have a conversation with their children about this, if and when they need to,” Detective Chief Inspector Kate Hyder said.
“We have shared a lot of information around emojis over the past couple of weeks, both on social media and with our local partners to help raise awareness and start the discussion around this,” she added.
“Our focus on this doesn’t stop with the end of this initial campaign. We will be continuing to work with local partners to extend the conversation around emojis. We’re also aware that emojis and their alternative meanings are something that will constantly change, and so our work and research into this will continue.”
The force is urging parents to become more aware but said: “We’re very aware that checking phones could break down this trust between a parent and their child, and therefore we are not suggesting parents do this.
“Instead, we want people to be aware of what these emojis mean, in case they do happen to see them.”
However, they did stress that the use of these emojis on their own doesn’t necessarily mean a child is involved in drugs.
Instead, it may be seen as part of a bigger picture of a change in their behaviour which could also include changes in mood, a change in school performance and becoming increasingly secretive.
However, commenting on the guide, several people aren’t surprised with the code.
“Not terrifying - just language. Slang has been used for centuries. This is just a manifestation of that,” said one.
While another wrote: “Nothing new. iPhones/Emoji’s have been around since 2012 as has their usage by drug dealers.
“It’s not exactly hard to ‘decipher’ emoji meanings and anyone who sees a leaf with smoke would probably get that it means cannabis unless you’re slow.”