Last week we told parents about a popular Facebook game called “Smash or Pass” where teens and even middle-school aged kids post and rate pictures online. When posting photos, they generally choose “sexy” pictures and when rating photos, they determine whether or not they would or would not hook up with that person (or if they already have). This week we discovered a similar ranking game on the popular social networking site called “You Pick.”
Believed to be created by a teen from Kearny High School in New Jersey, You Pick (since removed since NBC first reported on it) shared characteristics with Smash or Pass. Photos did not contain blatant nudity but were often of kids in sexual or provocative poses. One teen, who submitted a picture of himself showing off his abs, said, “they compare on who looks better, the better abs, the better body.” His mother was completely unaware that her son was involved with this site. As with any instances of oversharing, sites like these make parents worried about college admissions offices, employers and online predators because of the damage they can do to teens’ online reputations.
Some teens even experienced a cyberbullying incident because of the site. While most teens willingly submitted photos to You Pick on their own, other teens were “forced into battle” without their knowledge or permission. A 14-year-old girl said when she found her photo on the site – and it was receiving nasty comments – creators of the group refused to remove the picture and told her “it was their competition” and she had no say in the matter.
Fortunately, this site is no longer active but from examples such as “You Pick” and multiple variations of “Smash or Pass” pages, it’s easy for any kid or teen with a Facebook account to create a page or “game” like these. Kids shouldn’t be ranked on their looks ever, let alone in full view on the online world. And parents aren’t always aware of these kinds of games – which is why it’s important to talk to kids about the dangers of oversharing and online reputation damage. We also need to make sure our teens understand that once something is posted online, it’s difficult to remove – or for people to forget about.
Does your teen’s school have any similar sites or “games” like “You Pick?”