Mom’s Guide to Using Bitmojis Like a Cool Kid

I’ll admit it: I’m a Bitmoji addict. I remember my first encounter with them vividly. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I was out hiking with another mom. She told me about an app that lets you create your own expressive cartoon avatar to send in texts. All it took was a few scrolls through some of her conversations, and I was hooked.

The first thing to grab me was the realization of what a great way this would be to connect with my daughter while traveling on my next business trip, or while she was at a sleepover or overnight school outing. She’d think of me as such a cool mom, too! Maybe I could even use it with my siblings. They’re just way too cute to resist! Here’s why I love them … and how I’ve learned to Bitmoji without overdoing it.

Your Darling Avatar

Part of what makes the app so addicting is the uncanny resemblance between the avatar and its creator … YOU! You choose your hair color, eye shape and size, glasses, skin tone, hairstyle, curves and – the best part for me – WARDROBE! You get to change your outfit with the swipe of a finger without spending a dime. It’s like shopping for free! And there are lots to choose from – dresses, shorts, jeans, and even superhero capes and movie-themed outfits. Once your avatar’s created, you get access to tons of cartoons of yourself saying things with word bubbles or doing things like drinking your morning coffee.

Like Emojis, but Better

Sort of like emojis, the fun and quirkiness of Bitmojis can really remind us to see the humor in life. As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine! Frustrated and tired the other day? Maybe you were a little too harsh on your child before they left to see friends, so you send a little image of yourself surrounded by hearts and the words “I’m sorry!” A cute photo in a text will probably go over better than a long-winded explanation about how you had a hard day at work or their little brother was on overdrive. You might even get a Bitmoji in response, and seeing your child’s avatar version of themselves is guaranteed to make you smile. If you’ve got older, college-age kids, it’s a super fast and simple way to check in without seeming like a nosy parent. And when it comes to communicating with people your own age, a fun Bitmoji can easily provide a quick update if you’re running late, and it may even help divert some attention away from your tardiness!

Really, More Screen Time?

I know what you may be thinking: You’re telling me I should spend more time on my phone just to search for the best and cutest message to send? Seriously? And isn’t it a little hypocritical when we’re always telling our kids to get off their phones? I get it. While the app is fun and addictive, you might worry that constantly using Bitmoji could somehow have a negative effect on communication with your kids. Or you may be worried about how to raise great communicators in a world of constant shorthand via smartphone. OKAY, WAIT. Stop right there! Remember that it’s better to be communicating in some form than not at all! And while you might have moments of nostalgia for long letters or chats, any kind of open dialogue is healthy for a growing kid. I think that no matter how it’s presented, when your children know that conversation is always welcome, it should never be dismissed.

GIFs and Snapchat and Instagram, Oh My!

It doesn’t stop at Bitmoji…with GIFs, emojis and even Digital Touch, texting with all sorts of enhancements is the newest cool way to communicate! Recently, my daughter got a GIF from her dad of MC Hammer. Her response was, “What’s this?” We all got a kick out of explaining to her that it was a big hit back in the dinosaur ages. This new app isn’t the only one we’re obsessing over either. Whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat or Candy Crush, many people find themselves waking up first thing in the morning and gluing their faces to their phones. Which brings me to my next point …

The Good, the Bad and the Utterly Addictive

Though screen time is highly entertaining and quickly becoming a huge part of how we relate to each other, it’s vital to keep a balance. If you or a loved one is spending way too much time searching for GIFs or scrolling through Twitter, it may be time to check into Digital Rehab. Suggest a smartphone hiatus for the day! Putting your technology in a family docking station located somewhere other than the bedroom is a good place to start. Or consider investing in an old-fashioned digital alarm clock to keep your phone out of the room you sleep in. Go on a phone-free hike, or spend time baking or cooking in the kitchen.

These IRL (in real life) moments remind us that although our electronics can give us immediate gratification, outside the smartphone screen is where the real memories happen.

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