This article is written for Google Workspace for Education administrators.

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The Emoji Problem

Emojis are everywhere. Kids love emojis too. While it's fun to express one's feelings using emojis, you will soon realize inappropriate emojis showing up in students' emails, like poop, middle finger, gun or knife poop, gun, middle finger, knife emojis. It doesn't seem healthy communication for kids.

Middle finger emoji in Gmail
Middle finger emoji in Gmail

This article shows you how Safe Doc removes these unfriendly emojis in Gmail, Hangouts and Docs editors to sanitize the communication environment for your students.

If you have yet to install Safe Doc for your school, please get a 30 days trial. After you get the trial license key, please deploy Safe Doc and read Safe Doc Configuration as they are prerequisites for you to understand the rest of article.

Config Safe Doc to Remove Specific Inappropriate Emojis

By default, Safe Doc will only block the middle finger emoji in Gmail, Hangouts, Docs, Slides and Drawing. But Safe Doc can be customized to remove specified emojis. The policy associated with this feature is BlockEmojis. To block specific emojis, insert the emoji characters into the list enclosed by double quotes "". When the policy is applied, students won't be able to find and use those emojis in emailing and chatting.

"BlockEmojis": {
  "Value": ["πŸ†", "πŸ‘", "πŸ‘„", "πŸŒ‹", "πŸ‘Œ", "✊", "πŸ–•", "πŸ’©", "πŸ”«", "πŸ—‘", "πŸ”ͺ", "πŸ’£", "πŸ”¨", "πŸ’€", "😡", "πŸ€•", "😑", "😠", "πŸ’’", "πŸ”₯", "πŸ’Š", "πŸ’‰", "πŸ”Œ", "🌿", "🍁", "😌", "😀", "πŸ—―οΈ", "πŸ’­", "πŸ’¨", "🚬"]

Emoji Characters

Emojis are a special group of Unicode characters rendered by browsers. This page provided a complete list of emojis, Full Emoji List. To block out the bad emojis, simply copy and paste the emoji to the policy BlockEmojis list.

Emoji Reaction

On April-05-2022, Google has introduced Emoji Reaction Features. That is simply reaction emoji in Docs, and Chat. By default there is not Admin, or End-User settings. The only thing is that, the preferences will be shared on both app. The emojis you will mostly use in one app will be reflected on other app.

Reaction emojis are available in other emoji location.

  1. Select any text .
  2. An emoji icon will appear in right edge of Doc.
  3. Click it and you will see the Emojis.

Now see below, how Safe Doc also blocks the bad emojis from there too.

Compare to previous screenshot, the middle finger emoji is removed from Google Doc Comment.

That said, Google's emojis are a subset of the full emoji list, so it's unnecessary to blacklist emojis that are not visible and accessible to students. Also, please note an emoji may look differently across browsers and applications, but the emoji is the same Unicode character under the hood.

Middle finger emoji removed from Gmail
Compare to previous screenshot, the middle finger emoji is removed from Gmail

Config Safe Doc to Disable the Emoji Feature Completely

Some admins prefer aggressively disabling the emoji functionality completely. Apply this settings to the policy.

"BlockEmojis": {
  "Value": ["*"]
Emoji button removed in Gmail
Emoji button removed in Gmail
Emoji button removed in Hangouts
Emoji button removed in Hangouts
Safe Doc removes all Emoji special characters in Docs, Slides and Drawing
Safe Doc also removes the inappropriate emojis in Google Chats
Safe Doc also removes the inappropriate emojis in Google Chat

Filter Emails with Inappropriate Emojis

Yet hiding emoji buttons can hinder students from abusing these emojis, it's only half of story. Students still can find those emoji characters somewhere else. If your organization enables Gmail for students, it's recommended to block any emails with these emojis.

With that in mind, it's suggested to create a content compliance rule in Google Admin Console to reject emails with inappropriate emojis. An rule example is like the following screenshot. It rejects all outgoing emails containing at least one middle finger emoji, pistol, kitchen knife or poop emojis.


  1. Log into your Admin Console.
  2. Go to Apps > Google Workspace > Gmail > Content Compliance.
  3. Select your students' OU.
  4. Scroll to the Content compliance setting under Compliance section. Click Add another or Configure depending on whether you had rules already.
  5. Check Outbound and Internal - sending in Email message to affect.
  6. In expressions, select
    1. Advanced content match
    2. Location: Headers + Body
    3. Match type: Matches regex
    4. Regexp: πŸ–•|πŸ”«|πŸ”ͺ|πŸ’©. Copy emojis from Full Emoji List and paste here. Add a | between them, a vertical bar, not number 1 or letter l. No spaces.
  7. In the action step, specify how you handle such messages, say Reject message. Also, it's wise to add a rejection notice back to your students.
  8. Click Save.
  9. Finally test your rule, iterate until you're satisfied.
Set up content compliance rule to reject emails with inappropriate emojis
Set up content compliance rule to reject emails with inappropriate emojis

Students will receive a bounce back email Message not delivered like this,

Message not delivered because of inappropriate emoji usage
Message not delivered because of inappropriate emoji usage

There is no counterpart solution to filter messages with emojis for Hangouts / Chat.


It's like fighting with flu to prevent students from exploring new features (new emojis). Students are smart. If you have any questions or suggestions to the solution, please contact [email protected].

Do you know Safe Doc can also block stickers (e.g. the poop sticker) too? Check out Block Stickers in Hangouts.