As if it isn’t enough that teens or tweens have the ability to post mean things to one another, about one another and for the purpose of hurting each other, an itunes app has made it even easier for cyberbullying to be shared on Facebook.
According to several news stories, the “Ugly Meter App” has now been downloaded 3 million times from the iTunes store and has new enhanced features. Using the app, facial scans will allow users to have faces rated from 0 to 10 on the “Ugly Scale” with a new meaner commenting possible as well. But how is it that an application designed to be mean gets so much attention and uptake with users? According to the advertisement on the itunes website, the app is getting a 4 ½ star rating from users. The pictures, scorings and meaner comments are also available for an instant upload to Facebook, Twitter or to be emailed. I am certain that the designers didn’t intend on actually hurting anybody as the argument is always “it’s all in fun”. However, with too many children reporting digital abuse on social networking sites, I’m not certain this was a great idea. It just seems like another tool kids can use to be abusive with images and comments to one another.
Of course it isn’t the first site to encourage mean behavior online and it isn’t the first to get a lot of attention. There is a site devoted to pictures taken of people in Wal-Mart that are wearing odd things or different hairstyles. The entire website is designed to make fun of others. At .99 cents for purchasing the app and 3 million in subscribers, this company made quite a bit on helping people to be mean. The ideal could perhaps be that we all play nicely and use these apps or sites for pictures of ourselves and to enjoy them personally, but parents, just be aware that it’s there.
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