We get that there are useless apps out there and that there are people who are apparently bored enough to download said apps. That’s fine, especially if you have a lot of phone space to play around with and a lot of cash to burn—it’s your money anyway, so you can do anything you want with it, right?
Given the choice between a useless app and an offensive one, it’s a no-brainer that we’ll go for the former.
Of course, you can choose otherwise; but before you do, check out these top five offensive apps, have a good think about them, and maybe, just maybe, ask a friend before you hit that download button (if they haven’t been banned already, that is).
#1 Baby Shaker
Shaken baby syndrome, according to MedlinePlus, is “a severe form of child abuse caused by violently shaking an infant or child.” It’s a serious matter, and making light of it, or worse, making a game about it, is obviously not going to be well received.
Take the case of Baby Shaker, an app that aims to make users stop babies from crying by shaking their iPhones. To be honest, we were deeply baffled as to why Apple approved the app in the first place, let alone allow its makers (Sikalosoft) to sell the game for $0.99. But it’s a good thing that the company did something about it and immediately removed the app from iTunes two days after said app went on sale. Needless to say, we can only hope that there would be no more baby-shaking apps offered by any online digital media store in the future.
#2 Is My Son Gay?
This controversial app hit Android Market in the last quarter of 2011. French developer Emmene Moi (which means bring me) claimed that Mon Fils Est-Il Gay (Is My Son Gay?) was introduced to help promote a novel of the same name. The app is basically a 20-question quiz that will help parents figure out if their son is straight or not.
It was immediately slammed by gay rights advocacy groups like AllOut.org, which launched a Twitter campaign to pressure Google to remove the app. Emmene Moi claimed that the app was “conceived with a playful approach” and not at all scientific but both the French and English versions were quickly pulled by Google.
#3 Boyfriend Trainer
Violence has no place in society; but apparently, domestic violence – specifically against men – is tolerated by Apple and Google. Developed by Games2win India, Boyfriend Trainer allows an animated girlfriend character s to “train” a perfect boyfriend by leading him on a leash and physically abusing him whenever he commits a mistake, like changing the television channel or checking out girls.
If this app was called the Girlfriend Trainer, it would most likely not have been approved for download in any country (except maybe in India, where the gaming company is based and where violence against women is common). Boyfriend Trainer can be played by children and just sends the wrong message.
#4 Make Me Asian
Photo editing apps are a dime a dozen; but every once in a blue moon, developers come up with something promising or–in the case of Make Me Asian–something that defies understanding.
Seriously, there’s something wrong with someone whose idea of fun is superimposing dated racist stereotypes like a Fu Manchu mustache, slanted eyes, and yellow skin on his/her photo. Maybe the developer, Kimbery Deiss (who also made other ridiculous apps like Make Me Indian and Make Me Russian) didn’t hear about the Hollister models who got fired for making “squinty eye” faces; or maybe the app Make Me Asian was really just a distasteful attempt for people to become “representatives of Asian nations”, as the app description reads.
The app has been removed from Play Store by Google, but why it was allowed to be sold in the first place remains a mystery.
#5 Ugly Meter
Want to know if you’re Beauty or the Beast? Snap a picture of yourself and Android/iPhone app Ugly Meter will tell you if you’re sexy or ugly. For an app that was made to tell people that they’re not hot, Ugly Meter became so popular that it even battled Angry Birds for the top spot in the App Store Paid Apps charts last year. According to co-developer Jo Overline, Ugly Meter does a scan “but it does a random thing there.”
This probably explains why most people, even Brad Pitt, rank high on the ugly scale. Bloggers tested the app using photos of celebrities, with Pitt getting this message: “You could walk into a haunted house and come out with a paycheck.”
Dapper Gentlemen say the app should be used just for fun but anti-cyber bullying activists are concerned that it could cause emotional and psychological harm to children.
Not to play the blame game, but we really feel that online digital media stores such as Google Play or Apple’s App Store should be more vigilant when it comes to approving apps. Developers too, need to be more responsible when creating apps that may be construed as offensive or even useless.
Now this isn’t to say that developers should stay away from the “fun” stuff and just focus on providing users with apps that phone service providers like RingCentral would just love to have preloaded on the newest and most sellable phones, tablets, and phablets. The idea is for everyone to share the responsibility so that the mobile experience remains enjoyable and free of anything that could be interpreted as harmful or offensive.