Recently, Facebook has seen a rise in the popularity of Smash or Pass groups. These are communities wherein teens post their pictures so that other teens may comment with either ‘smash’ or ‘pass’. Smash would mean that they would willingly engage with sexual intercourse with the person should the opportunity arise; and Pass if they would rather not.
Needless to say, parents were horrified at the presence of these groups and were quick to bemoan the morals – or lack thereof – of today’s youth. But more pressing than any morality issue is the fact that these groups place the teens in highly vulnerable positions.
The groups are open to anyone and everyone, and you can pretty much bet that there are sexual predators prowling about among the usual crowd of eager teens. These predators are likely to be out there right now, answering ‘smash’ or ‘pass’ on pictures, pretending to be young and using false identities to go about their sick hobbies.
What makes matters worse is that the teens who partake in these games often submit provocative pictures in order to increase their chances of getting ‘smash’ comments. These pictures are, without a single shred of doubt, passing into the wrong sets of hands (not that there is a ‘right’ set) – and the kids in them are being put in serious danger of being targeted by sexual predators.
Furthermore, Smash or Pass pages open these teens up for cyberbullying. It’s easy to see how a series of ‘pass’ comments could push a vulnerable teen towards the throes of depression. This is a very delicate age, and the need for acceptance is very strong. Unfortunately, the very nature of the game itself is crass, so rude and hurtful comments are practically a given.
What’s frightening is the rate by which these Smash or Pass pages are cropping up. It’s difficult to crack down on them because it’s incredibly easy to create a new one when the old ones are closed down. It would be better if the problem is cut at the root and these teens who engage in such activities are given proper education about the risks that they entail just by participating, whether it’s to get themselves rated or to rate others. The dangers of sexual predation are very, very real – and teens should be made to understand this before they become victims themselves. Smash or Pass pages are a set up for disaster, but they’re very difficult to combat if the problem lies in the youth’s mindset in the first place.