Science

Warning increased emoji use could be impacting our literacy and communication skills


Using emoji symbols could be harming our literacy skills, according to a scientist. It comes after leading online card retailer Moonpig launched the UK’s first AI-powered “Smart Text” tool to craft personalised messages for cards.

New research found that more than a quarter (26 percent) of Brits admit they would turn to AI to help draft a message when making amends.

Psychologist and scientist, Dr Meg Arroll said: “So many of us really struggle with expressing our feelings through words, which is understandable because we don’t tend to teach emotional literacy to children and young people, meaning as adults we are left with a limited emotional vocabulary.

“The increased use of visual prompts like emojis is likely to have had an impact on our ability to verbally express ourselves.

“To be able to convey a message in one tap using a symbol or image is much easier and more convenient, but the impact of this could decrease not only our emotional literacy but also normal literacy.

“This diminishes our ability to talk about our feelings and impacts our vocabulary, including emotional vocabulary.

She added: “A little help in this department will go a long way as it can be intimidating when trying to find the ‘right’ turn of phrase, particularly when sending messages to loved ones, so having an AI tool that allows us to bring the full constellation of human emotion to the surface would benefit not only the sender, but also the receiver, as seeing those words in print can have a powerful impact.

“The little poem the AI tool created was entertaining and amusing but many of us would be reluctant to attempt this unaided. Therefore, I can see this AI tool being a lot of fun – Moonpig has taken what could be a daunting experience and turned creating a personal message into something that is joyful and heartwarming.”

Moonpig was the first major online card retailer to launch an AI tool to help card senders craft authentic heartfelt and personalised messages all with the click of a button, and just in time for Christmas.

The introduction of the new AI-powered Smart Text tool hopes to put an end to the struggle many face when having to put their thoughts into words, with experts predicting the increased use of emojis as the root cause of the issue.

With the increased use of instant messaging via apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, over the last decade emojis have come to replace words when communicating with friends and family, and as a result, left many struggling to write heartfelt messages to loved ones.

James Huppler VP of Product & Design at Moonpig, said: “We’re pleased to have launched our new Smart AI Text tool ahead of Christmas.

“Many of our customers tell us that they struggle with the creative aspect of coming up with the perfect message to go inside their cards. Sometimes knowing what to say, whilst making sure it feels truly personal and heartfelt can be tricky.

“We hope that this Christmas will be different, as our new feature, coupled with our wide range of Christmas cards can help take some of the pressure off when writing your cards this festive season.”



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