TBH, Approval Is Irrelevant

by Anika Mittu ’19

The new app TBH, currently boasting over 4 million downloads on iOS, seeks to provide teenagers with a format to anonymously deliver compliments to their peers. Questions such as “Who has the best smile?” arise for users to answer, presented through a poll in which the player must select which classmate out of four given individuals best corresponds to the implied trait. When selected as an answer to a poll, the app notifies the chosen player of the compliment they have received, providing the user with fleeting satisfaction and acceptance.

While a noteworthy attempt to encourage kindness in a world brimming with negativity, TBH harmfully enables teenagers to depend on social acceptance to boost self-esteem. By offering players consistent compliments, users begin to take these charming messages to heart, internalizing these opinions in order to experience validation. Consequently, players grow to value external opinions of themselves as opposed to internal approval, further creating a generation reliant on peer acceptance to determine self-worth. With constant exposure to Facebook “likes” and Instagram “followers,” the last thing our generation needs is another societal form of affirmation, instructing us to love ourselves only as much as our peers do.