Boy petitions Apple to change 'nerd face' emoji

Posted:
in iOS

A UK schoolboy is asking Apple to fix and rename what he says is its offensive and insulting "nerd face" emoji, and has created a petition about it.

Petitioner Teddy with the
Petitioner Teddy with the "Apple" icon he so dislikes (source: BBC)



Perhaps a 10-year-old schoolboy couldn't be expected to know that it's actually the Unicode consortium that rules on emoji -- but you'd hope that the teachers encouraging his petition would have looked into it.

According to BBC News, 10-year-old Teddy from Peppard in the UK's Oxfordshire, says that Apple's nerd icon with prominent front teeth gives a bad impression of glasses wearers.

"We want to change this -- Apple are making it absolutely horrible for people wearing glasses," he said. "They're making people think we're nerds and it's absolutely horrible."

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

Teddy has designed his own version, which replaces the teeth with a little closed-mouth grin. "It's got thin lenses and thin frames... and then it's got a little smiley face instead of the horrible rabbit teeth," he said.

While it's the Unicode consortium that decides whether a given emoji will be officially adopted, it is then up to companies precisely how they illustrate it. Examples of at least most emoji design variations, including the one literally called "Nerd Face," are shown on the Emojipedia.

The majority have done the same as Apple with prominent teeth, but Facebook's is close to Teddy's own new design. That Facebook version with just a small grin is solely seen on Android and PCs, though, as a Mac or iPhone on Facebook uses Apple's version.

Facebook switched from teeth to a grin for the nerd emoji in 2018, but only for Android and PC. (Source: Emojipedia)
Facebook switched from teeth to a grin for the nerd emoji in 2018, but only for Android and PC. (Source: Emojipedia)



The boy's petition has been encouraged by a teacher, named only as Lisa, who told the BBC that she loves "his inquisitive mind, and the fact he fights for what he believes in."

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

BBC News says that Apple has not commented.

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,104member

    A UK schoolboy is asking Apple to fix and rename what he says is its offensive and insulting "nerd face" emoji, and has created a petition about it.

    Perhaps a 10-year-old schoolboy couldn't be expected to know that it's actually the Unicode consortium that rules on emoji -- but you'd hope that the teachers encouraging his petition would have looked into it.

    While it's the Unicode consortium that decides whether a given emoji will be officially adopted, it is then up to companies precisely how they illustrate it. 

    The majority have done the same as Apple with prominent teeth, but Facebook's is close to Teddy's own new design. That Facebook version with just a small grin is solely seen on Android and PCs, though, as a Mac or iPhone on Facebook uses Apple's version.

    Facebook switched from teeth to a grin for the nerd emoji in 2018 but only for Android and PC Source Emojipedia

    The article starts out implying Apple's hands are tied, it's not up to them how it's portrayed, but then later in the article notes that the specifics are up to the individual companies using it. They are not bound by the Unicode Consortium, as seen in Facebook's variation.

    Apple can change it, and I think the kid makes a fair point. 
    edited November 2023 Graeme000jas99ronnJaiOh81Alex1Nmichelb76
  • Reply 2 of 29
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,620member
    I feel bad for anyone who is picked on for any reason, but every emoji matches someone and children are cruel.  

    Remember, the nerds win in the end.  And become rich, too.  
    ITGUYINSDjas99byronlmaltzbaconstangSleepySheepAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 29
    This emoji is normally used in a complementary way, but it probably should be updated. Maybe a pencil over the ear or holding a calculator.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 29
    Despite the emoji, the kid basically DOES look like a nerd. IMO, being called a nerd can be a good thing.  Aren't nerds considered smart?
    edited November 2023 king editor the gratelibertymattersdewmebaconstangSleepySheepwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 29
    Please don’t tell me this is real! What role models for teachers we have now days, teaching everyone to invent something to be offended about and to make a big stink about it. 
    They used to teach you how to be mentally resilient to help face lifes hardships. Now so many radical teachers teach the opposite. 
    libertymattersbyronlbaconstangSleepySheepJapheywatto_cobranetroxjony0
  • Reply 6 of 29
    I was bespectacled from fourth grade until my late twenties.  One word, little chap: LASIK.  It will change your life, you're welcome.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 29
    ronnronn Posts: 650member
    Facebook got it right, Apple didn't. Change it. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 29
    sbdudesbdude Posts: 251member
    Of all the things. Maybe try a different pair of glasses. Does the kid have beaver teeth, too?
    zeus423watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 29
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,707member
    I was bespectacled from fourth grade until my late twenties.  One word, little chap: LASIK.  It will change your life, you're welcome.
    Nah, it's the Neanderthals who only know how to think with their eyeballs who need to change. Need to start a Clockwork Orange bootcamp where they're forced to watch Idiocracy until they understand what direction they're taking humanity.
    jas99avidthinkerjony0
  • Reply 11 of 29


    Excuse me while I clean my glasses and dust my Star Wars toys...

    Anilu_777Spitbathwatto_cobranetrox
  • Reply 12 of 29
    Instead of complaining, he should claim the copyright to that emoji and get rich!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 29
    I was bespectacled from fourth grade until my late twenties.  One word, little chap: LASIK.  It will change your life, you're welcome.
    I looked into that once but the doctor told me that even though I wouldn’t need glasses to see things far away that I wouldn’t be able to see things up close without reading glasses.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 29
    If the kid wins I’m sure he’ll never get bullied again.
    byronlbaconstangwilliamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 29
    byronlbyronl Posts: 352member
    it's just a fun emoji.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 29
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,276moderator
    Real nerd:



    Apple's version nails it as usual:

    https://emojipedia.org/apple/ios-16.4/nerd-face



    Other versions are more kind like WhatsApp:

    https://emojipedia.org/whatsapp/2.23.2.72/nerd-face



    but the point of the emoji is to represent the message clearly. When you see the image, you're supposed to immediately think that's a nerd. That's the whole point of emoji existing, there's no point in sharing ambiguous emoji so people wonder what it means and people have to explain it.

    Smiling person with glasses - is it a happy father looking over his first born child? Is it someone shortsighted watching a football game where his team is about to score? This version cannot be used the way the nerd emoji is currently used.

    Apple's version - that's a nerd, looking like a nerd, acting like a nerd. Clear, obvious, nailed it.
    dewmeSleepySheepbyronlwilliamlondonwatto_cobranetroxjony0
  • Reply 17 of 29
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,283member
    I heard that eggplants are asking for a re-do on their emoji too. Despite how they are depicted in emoji-space, they are actually a very friendly and convivial fruit. 
    Alex1Nbyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 29
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,711member
    Nerds/Geeks rule the world.... Mr. Peabody Won.
    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 29
    I was bespectacled from fourth grade until my late twenties.  One word, little chap: LASIK.  It will change your life, you're welcome.
    I looked into that once but the doctor told me that even though I wouldn’t need glasses to see things far away that I wouldn’t be able to see things up close without reading glasses.
    You must be old (45? 50?). The downside of age is your lenses stiffen and the muscles that control them weaken and LASIK comes with those trade offs. Not an issue for the young. Get LASIK while you're still young kids!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 29
    The emoji is subjective. Change it and someone else may not like it. Unfortunately, this is real life, not everything will please everyone and as much as the boy is free to complain, he also needs to understand that just because one person may not like it, you can't go changing something because of it.
    and, I can't believe I am wasting my breath commenting on this to be honest. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
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