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Don’t Smash: Pass the Pressure

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Last updated on February 25, 2023

“Here, here. Look at this!” my friend comes over to where I am seated at lunch. The table outside where my friends and I usually sit is packed. She shoves her Chromebook in my face. An image of a shirtless Tom Holland fills the screen. “Smash or Pass, Tom Holland!” she squeals. My other friends crowd around the screen and me, screaming ‘Smash!’ or ‘100% Smash’. I sit there, unsure of what to do, pressure building on my back. This is an almost daily occurrence at my school. The peer pressure of the game of ‘Smash or Pass’, influences the daily lives of so many people everywhere – and should stop being played everywhere. 

Smash or Pass is a game similar to ‘Kiss, Marry, Kill’ in which people are given an image of an “attractive” or “cute” person and asked whether they would “smash or pass” that person. This game has exploded in popularity over the past few years, mostly on Tik Tok. It grew in popularity as a trend in which the Disney character filter was used. Over the years, it quickly evolved into people using other images to play on even more social media platforms. “‘Smash that booty,’ says one poster. In another post, a boy writes about a teenage girl and says, ‘holy [expletive], U sexy, smash all day and night.’” (Gale General) Many times, it is played at schools, with people using their own classmates.

The game has been influenced by many well-known YouTubers and TikTokers, including PewDiePie. A popular website, Buzzfeed, a site known for its quizzes and articles, is a hotspot for Smash or Pass, as well as other user-created quizzes. Buzzfeed describes itself as “the best of the Internet” as well as a driver of conversation. However, its promotion of Smash or Pass is far from responsible.

Smash or Pass is a toxic way to judge people based solely on their looks, and not anything else. The peer pressure of Smash or Pass on students like me is immense. It causes emotional damage if students have been told that they were ‘passed’ by another student. Experts note that, “When a teenager gets “passed”, that could be very detrimental to emotional health. The teen may try to get noticed and may become more risque. It is a form of cyberbullying.” (Gale General) Simply put, Smash or Pass causes far too many problems. People can get pressured into ‘smashing’ people, likely causing damage to mental health or creating uncomfortable situations. A way to slow or stop the game is to promote it as a bad concept.

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