According to the unofficial biopic “The Social Network,” Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg first gained notoriety at Harvard for creating a site called “FaceMatch” which pitted photos of females against one another in a battle for perceived hotness.
What made FaceMatch different from predecessor HotOrNot.com was that it pulled from local populations of girls at Harvard, making users likely to judge people that they know on the site, and thus having more appeal to the likely user.
Now, parents with kids on Facebook should be aware of new pages called “Smash or Pass,” in which users of the page are presented with photos and decide whether they would “Smash” (meaning hook up with) or “Pass” on the person represented. So Zuckerberg’s first rousing success as a website creator has naturally resurfaced on arguably the most successful website of all time.
For most parents, this will likely add to the unease associated with letting a young child explore the very wide and oft-untamed world of social media. We have always advised that parents use caution before granting a child access to social media sites, and to install monitoring software such as Safe Eyes to get summaries of their child’s web activity. As the Cyberbullying Research Center has noted in their Top Ten Tips for Parents (PDF), observing differences in the child’s browsing behavior can be a key warning sign that the child is involved in cyberbullying or some other trouble online.
This latest Facebook meme is rife with potential to cause self-image issues in younger users, and has already elicited photos that skirt the lines of Facebook’s usage guidelines. If you are the parent of a teen on Facebook, this might be a good subject to bring up to talk about the bigger issues of managing one’s online reputation.