Emoticons To The Rescue: How To Help Kids Express What They Feel

Emoticons are very popular among the young generation who want an easy way to summarize their emotions, Researchers from the United Kingdom, however, found a way to make these emoticons more socially-beneficial by using them in questionnaires that aim to determine the well-being of children in the classroom.

Experts at the University of Exeter Medical School designed a questionnaire dubbed as the "How I Feel About My School." The questionnaire allowed children to answer the questions using emoticons of happy or sad faces. Researchers laid out seven situations that will assess how students feel in the playground, in the classroom or on their way to school.

Design Team leader Professor Tamsin Ford said the researcher asked the respondent children on their preferred questionnaire style. According to Psych Central, creating a questionnaire suited to the children's age and preference would help them relate and answer the questions truthfully.

"When we're carrying out research in schools, it can be really hard to meaningfully assess how very young children are feeling," Ford said. "We couldn't find anything that could provide what we needed, so we decided to create something."

The completed questionnaire hopes to help teachers communicate with their very young students even when it comes to complex emotions, as per Science Daily. Ford admitted the difficulty in assessing the feelings of young children so they came up with the emoticons with the support of the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula.

Research shows children who find it hard to identify facial emotions are more prone to encountering learning and social difficulties, according to Parenting Science. On the other hand, those who find it easy to read facial expression are more likely to become popular in school. Experiments also found out that the ability to identify frightened expressions is common among people who tend to be generous and kind.

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