Ugly meter iPhone app adds fire to bullying debate

Oct 20, 2010 at 3:30 p.m. ET

The Ugly Meter iPhone app purports to measure a person's attractiveness. The developers say it's all in good fun, but is it just another tool to help bullies make fun of others?

Ugly Meter iPhone App

Hot or Not version 2.0?

That's what some are comparing to the new Ugly Meter iPhone app, now available for download on iTunes.

Measures facial symmetry

The Ugly Meter iPhone app works using facial recognition software to measure facial symmetry. The software then judges the attractiveness of the face on a rating system of one to 10 -- one is "not ugly" and 10 comes with a message that dishes out insults like "you're so ugly, when you walk by a bathroom the toilet flushes," according to The New York Daily News.

Ouch.

All in good fun?

Many adults can sense the tongue-in-cheek nature of this sort of app and not be offended. But -- as some critics argue -- young people, especially teens, might use it to make fun of others.

"There's a fine line between teasing and razzing one another," Dr. Gwen O'Keeffe, cyberbullying and social media expert, told Fox News. "And this is just hurtful. It could have crushing blows on kids with low self-esteem. There's just nothing good that could come from an app like this."

Her concerns are valid, especially given the recent rash of teen suicides. Sure, it might not seem like that big of deal for an app to call you ugly -- but it can seem like the end of the world for teens with low self-esteem.

Our take? We think the Ugly Meter iPhone app is pretty ugly itself.

 

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