A warning can be many things; a TV disclaimer, a Trigger Warning (TW), a sign from the cosmos, or a straightforward note or text. It doesn’t matter how smart we are, we all need warning signs because we’re not as “foreseeing” as we’d like ourselves to believe. Warnings keep us safe and they keep us from being stupid. Think about all the warning signs you come across on the street. If it weren’t for those, we’d be a threat to school kids. No, not us as in people, but, us as in our vehicles.
Within this spectrum of warnings, there are objective and subjective warnings. There are things that generally apply to everyone and then there are things that are individually applied. For instance, a biohazard sign is equally applicable to all humans and it is an objective warning. But a prohibitionary sign against that colleague you can’t stand is a subjective warning.
Everyone except Matt is invited. Can’t stand his politically tone-deaf opinions. Sorry, Matt.
With texting and virtual conversations becoming the current mode of communication across the world, each emoji becomes a vital symbol. And if you wish to create awareness, put up a warning or even talk about caution online, we hope these warning emojis are useful.
General Warning Sign (Yellow)
This one’s a popular trigger warning sign. All ‘trigger warnings’ or “TWs” online are mostly preceded with ⚠️. The reason behind selecting this emoji as preparation for sensitive content is its attention-grabbing qualities.
But that doesn’t limit its use-case just to triggers. ⚠️ is applicable even to contexts that need immediate attention. It can be news posts, job/hiring posts, any piece of content that needs to make someone stop and invest those few extra seconds of their time into it.
In the digital era where everything is instantly “at your service”, it can be super challenging to get people to pay attention for more than a few seconds.
Besides, ⚠️ also suggests work in progress. Alert! I’m not yet done with this piece of art, so please halt thy judgment.
Specific Cautionary Signs (Yellow)
This warning sign is one of the four yellow warning emojis. But here’s what’s interesting. None of the four is a restriction. It’s all just the requirement for heightened awareness, caution, and most of all, attention.
🚸 is generally found in and around school zones. This sign demands extra caution with vehicular movement around such zones. Since this emoji focuses on ‘school kids’ precisely, it could be a great symbol of education, the need for education, schooling/schools, etc.
The radioactive symbol is the third yellow warning sign on the list. It’s another cautionary symbol that doesn’t primarily highlight prohibition but rather demands caution. Informing common masses about the radioactive nature of something is what ☢️ does.
- Dude. My dog is SO nasty. Pretty sure her farts are radioactive ☢️. You’d die if you were here.
But not all radioactivity is bad. Some of it is vital for the current existence of the industrial world. So, ☢️ can be used to represent nuclear energy, energy-based industries, and anything to do with either.
☣️ is a cautionary symbol focused on biohazards; naturally occurring toxins and lethal substances; mostly, living things. Honestly, we don’t have the technology to detect biohazards such as a virus. Hence this sign too acts less as a “warning”, but more as a caution.
General Prohibitionary Signs
Prohibited entry to any place clearly says “Stay away” for whatever reason. Sometimes, ⛔ is used to keep people away from genuine danger and sometimes obvious places, like my business.
However, ⛔ has come to have various meanings depending on the location of its use. For instance, this symbol on the phone would indicate “DND”, Do Not Disturb Mode, and “Restricted Notifications”, while it represents ‘restricted entry’ in physical or virtual places.
⛔ would be the perfect emoji to inform your work besties that Matt is off the house-party list.
This one’s very similar to the ⛔ No Entry sign in terms of its intention and significance. The only difference? The former is specifically for people and 🚫 works for anything. It could be contraband, a general ban, saying no to something. Essentially, practicing strict avoidance.
- We will not be serving meat at the event, and we encourage you to bring none as well 🚫
- We’re the folks who ban PDA between consenting adults, but there’s no ban on anything non-consensual. Humans SUCK 🚫
Specific Prohibitionary Signs (Red)
A specified prohibition sign is a merge of the 🚫 Prohibited emoji and the object that is prohibited. In this case, cycles or bicycles or bikes. The premise of 🚫 is a lack of bicycle parking, a warning against bicycles in a particular place, or a ban on cycles altogether.
- APPARENTLY, cycles aren’t allowed 🚳 Are you kidding me? What did my cycle do to them?!
Sometimes, it’s all in the name.
If that weren’t true, 🚷 could be a prohibition on a person. But, no. The name makes all the difference here. It’s a prohibition on pedestrians.
🚷 suggests that a place is pedestrian-unfriendly, or that it’s an accident-prone zone or an unsafe place for people to be walking. Theft, mugging, robbery, rape, murder, you never know. Humans. And when humans are involved, you truly, never know.
But. If you’re introverted, socially selective, or just not a big fan of human interaction, 🚷 would be a quirky yet powerful way of saying “Please stay away“.
If the previous emoji were to be a prohibition on a person, this one’s the filtered version of that prohibition; people under the age of 18. 🔞 like the other signs on this list exists with the best interests in mind.
People under 18 are considered to be children, with impressionable minds, poor decision-making skills, naive, and overall not ready for the real world, which is quite shitty tbh. So, when there’s sensitive content out on media platforms that are possibly damaging to these young minds, 🔞 comes in as a warning.
Realistically speaking, age is just a number. Something constructively digestible by someone below 18 is sometimes not consumed in the right way by people above this limit too. Anyhoo. Society speaks for itself.
📵 is one of the most popular precautionary signs. Keep your phones away!! While it could be an environmental plea, this emoji also acts as a wonderful reminder to actually connect than on social media.
- It’s a one-day get-together. We don’t ask for anything, but communication. No phones will be allowed in the event 📵
- If you’re out with someone who “means the world to you”, do them and yourself a favor. Ditch the phone 📵
Since everything is available on the phone, 📵 could also act as a symbol to prohibit or cancel any function performed by the smartphone. Internet, social media, calls, texting, are just a few examples.
If prohibiting mobile phones is “one of the most popular precautionary signs”, then 🚭 is the most prohibiting. It’s showcased in many scenarios and on different platforms both online and offline. This emoji focuses on both the internal and the external harm.
🚭 because you’re screwing with the environment
🚭 because you’re screwing with your inner environment; your health.
But does it work? Sometimes. Actually, nah.
This one’s truly an embarrassing sign. It’s an embarrassment that it even exists. Signs like 🚯 talk about the massive lack of “human common sense” and the most favored acts of ignorance and irresponsibility.
Don’t throw garbage anywhere other than in the bin.
Pick up after yourself.
That. That is what we don’t know, without being told. Sigh.
Anyway. 🚯 counts as another prohibitionary sign. It talks about littering; throwing and spewing one’s waste in any place. It could be a common street, a venue, playgrounds, etc. Human behavior is astonishing.
This water’s not for drinking. Consumption could cause issues like disease or death if you drank it, is the basis of 🚱. This sign is mostly used for water sources that are mainly sectioned for washing and not drinking. If it wasn’t for the name, 🚱 could have been misunderstood to be a warning against any tap that fills water!
You probably didn’t see this one coming. An unfamiliar button that says “Prohibition”, where di that come from?
Japanese buttons are super useful once you’re familiar with them. 🈲 straight up says prohibited, not could be, maybe or IDK, check out. This button strictly forbids anything that could go against the law or the requirements of any given context.
The prime distinction between the ‘cautionary’ and ‘prohitionary’ signs is that the consequence for the former is immediate. If one goes against what was cautioned, severe after-effects highly await.
But the latter has extended or delayed consequences. In fact, in most cases, there aren’t any. So what if I bring my cycle to a zone that doesn’t allow it? Or let me just keep my phone me despite being warned against it? Or, what’s the big deal, though? It’s just one wrapper. You could even escape the consequence, but if caught, it’s an embarrassing scene.
So, if you’re referring to cautions, precautions, prohibitions or bans, in other words, online, we hope these emojis help.