The organization that looks after the code behind the Internet has included an additional 250 characters in its most recent update. All of the characters we see in our Internet browsers, whether they be letters, numbers or symbols, all have a special code so the browser knows what to show online. The system is called Unicode and makes sure that whatever the browser or world language, the characters look as they should. The new "emoji" include many characters used on smart phones in SMS and text messages. People who make websites and Internet users can now make their pages look nicer with symbols that include a smiling face, a spider, a thumbs up, a dove of peace, and many more.
"Emoji" were originally developed in Japan for use on Japanese mobile phones. The word in Japanese is short for "picture-writing character". They quickly became popular around the world, especially among younger people. It could be a while before we can start using the new "emoji" on our cellphones. For that to happen, the big phone makers and software companies, like Apple, Samsung, Nokia, etc. will have to update their fonts and provide updates for consumers. There is still a way to go, however, before the "emoji" are from all cultures. They are currently biased towards Americans and Europeans, including things like a hand signal from the U.S. TV series Star Trek.