This article is written for G Suite for Education (GSFE) Administrators.

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

I will show you how to remove these naughty emojis in Gmail and Hangouts using Safe Doc to sanitize the communication environment for students.

If you haven't tried out Safe Doc for your school, please apply for a free trial license. Safe Doc is always for free for personal @gmail account.

Remove Specific Inappropriate Emojis

By default, Safe Doc will only block the middle finger emoji in Gmail and Hangouts. With policy configuration, Safe Doc can be customized to remove specified emojis. The policy key is BlockEmojis. 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. For configuring this policy parameter for Safe Doc, please read the same article Safe Doc Policy Configuration.

"BlockEmojis": {
  "Value": ["🖕", "🗡", "🔫", "🔪"]
}

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.

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

Disable Emoji Feature Completely in Gmail and Hangouts

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

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.

With that in mind, it's suggested to create a content compliance rule in 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.

Instructions

  1. Log into your Admin Console.
  2. Go to Apps > G Suite > Gmail > Advanced settings.
  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: 🖕|🔫|🔪|💩. 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.

Takeaway

It's like fighting with flu to prevent students from exploring new features (new emojis). They are smart. If you have any questions or suggestions to the solution, please leave a comment below or contact support@xfanatical.com.