Ah, emjois. The oh-so-popular, modern-day hieroglyphics containing almost a thousand tiny images of yellow smileys, food, and cartoonish animals, describe our feelings in ways words (and even acronyms) cannot. Excited for a night out with your friends? There’s an emoji for that! Clinking beer mugs, a dancing lady in a red dress, a pair of high heels, send. Message effectively conveyed. Someone post an adorable picture of a baby? Red heart, pink heart, blue heart, send. She’ll feel the love on her Instagram feed, no words required. But if you want to stop parents dead in their tracks, to warn of the frightening real-life stranger danger that exists in our kids’ virtual worlds, you’re outta luck. No combination of smileys had that kind of impact — until now.
Enter Innocence en Danger, an international non-profit group focused on preventing the sexual abuse of children. They partnered with Rosapark to create a jarring European ad campaign featuring photoshopped versions of real-life emojis that ask a simple question: Who’s really chatting with your child online? The answer, according to these ads, which will appear in newspapers, magazines, and bus stations in Paris, might just terrify you. Like the originals they emulate, these emojis relay their intended message loud and clear, no words necessary.
Photos via Innocence en Danger