Boy Starts Petition To Get Apple To Change 'Offensive And Insulting' Emoji

By Abdul Rafay in Real Life On 3rd December 2023

Emojis have evolved from cheeky aubergine to a friendly happy face, and they are now a common sight in many of our everyday exchanges.

But according to one child, the "nerd" emoji, which is among the most often used, needs to be changed immediately.

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10-year-old Oxfordshire resident Teddy Cottle has started a petition demanding that Apple alter the "offensive and insulting" character.

He believes that a smile would be more suitable, arguing that those wearing glasses create the wrong impression due to their prominent front teeth.

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'It's making me feel sad and upset, and if I find it offensive there'll be thousands of people around the world that find it offensive too,' he said. 

Teddy from Peppard claims that the emoji misrepresents persons who wear glasses.

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The student with the glasses has created his own version of the emoji, substituting a tiny smile for the toothy grin.

He said: 'We want to change this - Apple is making it absolutely horrible for people wearing glasses.’

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'They're making people think we're nerds and it's absolutely horrible.'

He thinks Apple would adopt his creation, which he is referring to as the "genius emoji."

'It's got thin lenses and thin frames, and a little smiley face instead of the horrible rabbit teeth,' he said. 

'I like wearing glasses because they make me see a lot better, and they look good and stylish.'

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Teddy was messaging his cousin when he noticed the offensive emoji, which prompted him to take action. He then expressed his anger to Lisa Baillie, his French teacher at school.

He started the petition with Madame Baillie's assistance, first at the school and later on the internet.

'I love Teddy's inquisitive mind, and the fact he fights for what he believes in,' she said.

'He's quite vocal about it but in quite a grown-up way, and I think that should be supported, encouraged and commended as well.'

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For the petition, he wrote: 'We think the nerd emoji is offensive and insulting to all those people in the world who wear glasses.

'We think people who wear glasses are cool and we are worried that people who are getting glasses for the first time will think they are going to look like rabbits or rats.’

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'We are asking you to change the name of the emoji to the genius emoji and change the design.'

Teddy says he would be "so excited" if Apple adopted his idea and that it would be "amazing."

Hearing about his campaign did not come as a complete surprise to his mother, Esme.

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'He has always been like that, really interested in learning, and he watches a lot of documentaries,' she said. 

'My husband mentioned that Teddy watches Prime Minister's questions.’

'He is very interested in the news and current events and has a thirst for knowledge and wants to learn to understand things.’

'I think it's amazing. He always has very strong opinions about things and I think fighting for what you believe in should be encouraged as we tend to lose this as adults.’