Australian family planning groups have criticized an iPhone app that enables users to "impregnate anyone you meet simply by taking a photo of them, marking up the image and pressing a button".
The app, which has become a hot item in the Australian app store, digitally alters images to give subjects the appearance of being nine months' pregnant.
AdvertisementAccording to Angus Mullane, from Appy Dude, who developed the app, hundreds of users are already posting pregnant photos of themselves on Facebook to "scare" their friends and family.
"We really just wanted to give people a laugh. It's had an amazing response. It's all over Facebook with teenage girls scaring their mums and stuff like that," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Mullane as saying.
"It's really just about getting girls to have a laugh and see what they're going to look like with a bump and also kind of sending it to their mums and saying 'whoops,'" he added.
But family planning groups have called for the app to be withdrawn from sale.
"I think it's absolutely dreadful," said Joanne Ramadge, chief executive officer of Sexual Health and Family Planning Australia.
"Teenage pregnancy is an extremely serious issue and to treat it in such a trivial way is not a considered or helpful approach ... Teenage pregnancy causes quite a lot of distress and problems for young people and their families and it should not be treated in such a light-hearted way," she noted.
Ramadge cautioned that it could be used as a form of cyber-bullying.
"For someone who is out to bully this could be very easily used to make someone look as if they're pregnant and dispersed in a way that could be quite horrifying and devastating for some people," she stated.
Though Mullane defended the app as "tongue-in-cheek," he admitted it could attract some controversy.
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