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10-year-old boy petitions Apple to change its ‘nerd’ emoji

‘They’re making people think we’re nerds and it’s absolutely horrible,’ he says

Brittany Miller
New York
Thursday 30 November 2023 18:05 GMT
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Related: Emojis explained

A 10-year-old boy has taken it upon himself to petition Apple to change one of its emojis.

Teddy from Oxfordshire, England, would like to rename the emoji that wears black frame glasses and has two buck teeth sticking out, which, currently, the company calls the “nerd” emoji.

“They’re making people think we’re nerds and it’s absolutely horrible,” the boy, and glasses wearer, said in an interview with the BBC. “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.”

Teddy was inspired to start his campaign after noticing the offending emoji when texting his cousin.

Because Teddy was so angry over the emoji, he decided to start an online petition with help from his teacher, Lisa Baillie.

“I love his inquisitive mind, and the fact he fights for what he believes in,” Baillie said to the BBC. “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.”

“I think the nerd emoji is offensive and insulting to all those people in the world who wear glasses,” the petition, titled: “No Nerd Emoji,” reads.

“I think people who wear glasses are cool and I am worried that people who are getting glasses for the first time will think they are going to look like rabbits or rats,” he wrote. “I am asking ‘Apple’ to change the name of the emoji to the Genius Emoji and change the design to the new one I have designed below.”

The suggested emoji was kept mostly similar to the original design, featuring the same black glasses but with a closed smile and no teeth at all.

“It’s got thin lenses and thin frames... and then it’s got a little smiley face instead of the horrible rabbit teeth,” he explained to the BBC.

Teddy said if Apple took his ideas on board it would “feel amazing and [he’d] be so excited”.

“I like wearing glasses because they make me see a lot better, and they look good and stylish,” he added.

As of Thursday 30 November, Teddy’s petition has received 387 signatures. Some people decided to leave comments on the petition in addition to adding their signature to make sure they let him know they agree the change to the emoji is a good idea. “I agree with Teddy’s concerns and would love to see the Genius emoji become a reality,” one comment read.

Another commenter agreed, writing: “I wear glasses and so does my boy. Removing the teeth and rebranding to genius, is genius! You make me proud to be part of the glasses wearing community! Go Teddy! A Prime Minister in the making, I’d vote for!”

“If he feels it’s offensive then it is offensive, and discriminative,” a third commenter pointed out. “That’s what matters. When I was at his age, when kids got glasses they were called all sorts of horrible things. It should be changed. I fully support him.”

One comment was left specifically for Teddy. “You are doing an AMAZING job!!” it read. “You are so young, and yet a powerful advocate already. You should be very proud of yourself for creating the change you wish to see in the world.”

The Independent has contacted Apple for comment.

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