British local governments deploy anti-teenager pink lights designed to make kids ashamed of their appearance

British local councils have a new weapon in their arsenal of devices that collectively and indiscriminately punish teenagers simply for being young. The new tool is a pink overhead light designed to exaggerate acne, with the intention of making children so unhappy and insecure about their appearances that they go somewhere else (mind you, these councils are almost certainly also allocating funds to helping teenagers cope with low self-esteem and avoid the problems associated with it, such as depression and vulnerability of recruitment into violent activity).

Other weapons in the arsenal against youth include the "Mosquito" -- an annoying high-pitched tone that adults can't hear, that shopkeepers and councils have deployed against teens and kids (and, of course, any babies that happen to be in the area), and "anti-kid steps" that are supposed to prevent the menace of kids staying in one place, talking to one another.

Anti-teenager “pink lights to show up acne” (Thanks, Dan!)

(Image: BBC)


  1. As long as the kids remember when they get older never to shop there things will all balance out!

  2. The War On Youth. Brought to you by people who one suspects may have been young once themselves. Just remember the youth they are fighting today are going to grow up to be the ones expected to care for them when they eventually end up in old folks homes. How much love for their elders will these kids feel, I wonder?

  3. Have they tried a pink light integrated with the high pitched noise? That would be the killer app. Also, lasers.

    What kinds of technology can we develop to repel old people?

  4. “What kinds of technology can we develop to repel old people?”
    I think it was called rock’n’roll at the time, and now Hip-hop.

  5. What about adults who suffer from the occasional breakout?

    Well done, local councils, really thought that one through!

  6. This may backfire and instead cause flocks of Goth kids to show up. I fully expect pink lights to become de rigeur in Hot Topic.

  7. Sure, sounds like a great idea, until the teenagers turn around and deploy the wrinkle-enhancing blue light!!!

  8. In Canterbury, when they redesigned the bus station, they replace nice, wide, flat benches (that supported you while waiting for the increasingly infrequent buses, that old people and children were comfortable with, that provided a place to rest shopping and other bags without placing them on the dirty ground) with narrow, angled, plastic seats, that, unless you were pretty much dead on 5 foot 6 treat you much like the prescribed “no ease” position used in torture from Torquemada to Guantanamo.

    When challenged on this, the local council stated that “The old shelters attracted vagrants at night. The new shelters are much less comfortable for them.”

    In other words “We have managed to build a place, where people are expected to wait for possibly extended periods of time, that is deliberately less comfortable than sleeping in a shop doorway”.

    They also redeveloped the shops next to the station, eliminating two cafes, to be replaced by chain store boutiques. So you can’t sit indoors with a cup of coffee watching for your bus, though you can buy new uncomfortable shoes to make your wait even more unbearable.

    And they wonder why fewer people are using the new bus station.

  9. This is just going to get the pretty people more action. They’ve replicated enough, thank you.

  10. near where i live, in a field is a sort of disused bunker type thing covered in (quite good ) graffiti and old beer cans. i guess the kids hang out there away from twatty local council areas. See they just move somewhere else where you can’t spy on them.

  11. This is just going to get the pretty people more action. They’ve replicated enough, thank you. One Paris Hilton is enough.

  12. Boy I’m glad I’m not a teenager living in the UK. Nothing like good ol’ ageism. What is the UK government so worried about, that their teenagers will act like teenagers? It’s very ridiculous; not to mention it sends a GREAT message from the government to all kids – “Hey, we don’t like you! We have no faith in your power of reason!”

  13. Am I a bad person for thinking this is just kind of funny? I don’t know, there seems like a big difference between something like youth curfews and something like this, which is just designed to specifically not appeal to teenagers. If kids hanging out in front of my store is bad for business, is it so wrong to harmlessly (and pretty humorously, intended or not) discourage them from doing so? Isn’t this the kind of thing we should be encouraging, as opposed to passing laws?

    1. This is systematic throughout the country. It’s not a question of business. It is an insipid attitude. You hate the poor and the youth. And so do your customers.

      Grow up. Those vagrants and mall rats will soon be making purchases in your industry but not in your stores.

  14. This is an example of the UK being the UK. INn’it?

    They don’t trust anyone because they don’t trust themselves. INn’it?

    It makes me hate British accents and stupid UK jibber jabber. INn’it?

  15. Making people uncomfortable is all a plan to help with their longevity, right?

    Anybody that designed this discriminatory shit ever think about make-up / ear buds rendering such stupid technologies obsolete? (Btw, apparently this over-40 musician’s ears can hear the “mosquito” sound.)

    Queue self-lighted teen fashion rave-wear accessories that go great with pink light in 3…2…1…

  16. “Whoa… look we both have lots of acne.”
    “Yes, so… I guess that’s completely normal for anyone our age.”
    “Now I regard myself in high esteem!”
    “Thanks PINK LIGHT!”

    Then again, if it really pisses kids off they’ll just break the light.

  17. It’s not the acne, but the color of the light that will repel teens away. Even with an acne free face, who would want to be bathed in pink.

  18. There’s a mall near where a grew up (in NY) that uses something similar to a mosquito. More of a chirp than a buzz. I don’t know anyone under the age of 50 who can’t here it.

    The food court is a ghost town because noone’s willing to put up with. Shrieking Babies, migraine headaches, and complete confusion just trying to figure out where that shits coming from. Its absurd.

  19. So, the pink light is supposed to do what/how? Is it like pink kryptonite or something? Do people really get paid to come up with this shit?

  20. Other weapons in the arsenal against youth include the “Mosquito” — an annoying high-pitched tone that adults can’t hear.

    Hmmm i am 41 and i can here the one in our local shop and going on the amount of kids that hang around the place it isn’t very effective at moving people on.

  21. In Cincinnati there is a street, “Short Vine”, that used classical music to discourage teens. The result? Teens developed a taste and appreciation for classical music…and continued to hang out.

    I think the pink light will only result in increased cosmetic sales.

  22. The homeless, teenagers, Muslims, political activists, photographers, bloggers are all targeted by nonsense laws to keep “everyone else” safe and sound.

    So when Yusaf Hamdi, homeless teen blogger shoots some photos for his political action blog I think people are going to go apoplectic.

  23. “There are no teenagers hanging out around these shops, because three months ago someone installed a pink light…instead the streets are deserted at night and actual criminals are waiting in a nearby alleyway for you to walk home from the bus stop.”

    “Don’t bother to think things through
    Just react to anything you find vaguely threatening or unfamiliar.”

  24. …actually, despite the intention, a pink light would make pink/red acne look much more like the rest of the skin, which would look more pink under the light. Like candle-light at a restaurant. It should be *good* lighting.

    Bad lighting would be green/blue. Green/blue light would make red marks look black in comparison to the skin–like what happens with florescents in a bathroom. They show every blemish.

  25. I don’t know if the pink light will succeed in making the teens feel bad about themselves, but this and other youth dispersing techniques are bound to give the teens a big collective persecution complex. As if teens needed another reason to think the world is against them.

    A youth employment program would do so much more to combat “juvenile delinquency” if that is what they think they are fighting. The YMCA used to have something called YES (youth employment service) and it placed teens with people in the community who needed help around the house and yard. What about rec centers specifically for teens, staffed with college students to supervise. Skate parks?

  26. I wonder why they can’t solve the problem at the source? Like, educate people on how to raise kids.

    You thought I was going to suggest vasectomy, weren’t you?

  27. I can remember my local 7-11 cranking up the classical music and installing similar anti-flattering amber fluorescent lights. This is nothing new, but the music probably attracted the elderly in this case. Dual purpose!

  28. How did the Brits get to such a stage where they now treat teens as simply vermin to scare off? Why aren’t they putting social programs in place to help solve the problems caused by the more troublesome sector of the teen population?

    While I’m at it, why aren’t they doing anything about the ridiculous amount of drunken adults fighting in the streets each night?

  29. They just need to wear rose tinted glasses to negate the effects.

    What they need is to find a light to attract teens into one place where they can be kept an eye on… no wait the light of Christ been there and done that, shame it’s not allowed to glow brightly anymore.

  30. Funny thing, in Thailand pink neon lights are often put outside bars to indicate a lot of “ladies of the evening” reside therein.

  31. Some Couche Tards (deps (convenience stores)) in Montreal did the classical music treatment. I don’t know how you expect kids in a rough neighborhood to not hang out anywhere, especially if it is right next to their source of 40s and cigarettes.

  32. The mosquito is old news. And, apparently, kids have turned the tables on old fogies by using this sound as a ringtone – teachers and parents don’t know that kids phones are going off.

  33. SF..

    Maybe you should change Christ’s battery once in a while, or not use him for extended periods. My atheist torch is going strong with its little solar cell, I think you can probably get conversion kits.. you should look into it :D

  34. Brilliant. Combine this with the Mosquito and you can guarantee I’ll never set foot in your store… pity I’m 38.

  35. It’s not about the kids so much. Anybody who is not a teenager is leery of them. Hell, teenagers are leery of each other. Remember?

    It is about people who, having been granted a small measure of authority, abuse that authority by indulging their worst instincts.

    It seems that is becoming the norm for urban UK society, from ASBOs to surveillance cams to sabotaged public spaces.

    The solution? Hold these authoritarians responsible for their actions against targeted segments of society. How can we do that? Class-action civil suits?

  36. I can hear “the mosquito,” and I’m 25. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me the last time I was in London, whether I’d suddenly come down with tinnitus or what. Really they’re just punishing anyone who wears earplugs to concerts. And now you’ll have to be bathed in pink while you do it.

  37. someone clever and charismatic will one day mobilize the political force being created by systematic attack on the young. When the accumulated resentment hits a critical mass and is carried in a persons mind to voting age – we shall see.

  38. The idea that teenagers aren’t already self-conscious about their acne–when I was a teen, every zit felt like a red strobe light–had to have come from someone who did not have a childhood.

  39. Pink? No way….now green- or blue-tinged fluorescent lighting (at night, with no reddish sodium lights around) will make anyone look like a zombie. And not in a good way.

  40. This is why all the kids in the UK are going to grow up to be ASBOs. Because they’ve been told from the beginning that they are a menace, that they are yobs who would be beating up old ladies if it weren’t for the curfews, the mosquitoes, the pink lights, the no-sitting steps and everything else.

    Considering all the noise the British make about paedophiles, it’s a little odd the way they fear their children.

  41. One day, the brits will fear youth of all ages, and deploy packs of dingos to take care of the “baby problem.”

  42. A grocery store near my house has a mosquito, it is extremely annoying, I’m 28 years old, and it still feels like my fillings are trying to jump out of my mouth every time I leave the store. I don’t know how good my hearing is, but I’ve listened to my fair share of loud music, so I don’t know how accurate the frequency range/age thing is… I don’t go to that store, and I’ve never had the urge to skateboard there, so all they’re keeping away in my case is a paying customer.
    I’ve also got bad skin, and an aversion to pink, so this is probably not a much better solution.

  43. – Monthly insurance premiums: $425
    – Vicodin for aches and pains: $10
    – Being too old to hear the mosquito or care what I look like: priceless

  44. Here’s a youth revolution for ya… pay the punks to go to school or work. If they have a way to make money legally, they will do it! Pay the kids for good grades, and for community service work… sweeping the streets, planting the gardens, painting the community centers. Then when the kids get some money, they SPEND it in their communities and things get even better! It could happen!

  45. crazy talk.

    i love it.

    what is the british government doing with its hours and hours of surveillance footage of miserable teenagers? I smell a reality series.

  46. I’m a British teenager and I can tell you now if you keep treating us like this then when we grow up your pension funds and retirement plans will be diverted into the “should have been nicer when you had the chance” fund. And then see how you like it.

    Kids are the future. Don’t forget it.

  47. @40
    So now I imagine some John Belushi-like character asking a group of kids “how much? How much for the leetle girl?”

  48. I don’t know enough about all this outside of the posts here, but do they not have civil rights lawyers in Britain? Or civil rights? I know they don’t have a constitution with its attendant bill of rights.

  49. # 5. You don’t need technology to repel old people. We are perfectly capable of being repulsive organically. One profoundly repulsive and puck ugly thing old people do is not trust young people . What are we afraid of?

  50. kids should form a kid’s consumers union via the web and systematically boycott merchants that attack kids. The contempt from business comes from the perception that children don’t have any money are therefore not worthy of any respect at all.

  51. @ Takuan #64:

    kids should form a kid’s consumers union via the web and systematically boycott merchants that attack kids.

    How do you boycott a business that’s actively trying to keep you away?

  52. #58 George Bush beat you to it. Don’t worry about getting even. Put your energy into getting better.

  53. individual businesses, only a very local level with sympathy boycotts by parents and allies. Franchise and chain businesses are another matter. Remember also that most of these merchants still want the kid’s money. They want them in and out as quickly as possible but they still want the money. Or are there signs at the door specifically banning kids under a certain age? Which may play badly with EU human rights rules.

  54. By” better” I mean learning to live on a small Island in a cramped house screaming at the walls and then being allowed to venture out into a world of adults and experiencing the walls screaming. What do you think the motive is here?

  55. #70. You are one of millions. Maybe billions that are love blind. Not your fault. Quit projecting your nasty brain on your neighbors. Explore a way to relax and be happy. Looking out of your window doesn’t seem to do it for you.

  56. Here in the US, claiming to be protecting and supporting children is a good way to get at least a vocal minority of people to side with damn near any silly idea.

    Apparently in the UK it’s somewhat the opposite? Seems strange to me, but I guess that’s just a cultural difference.

    Cheers, and may you never miss an opportunity to harass children!

  57. @58 Norfolkadam:

    I’m a British teenager and I can tell you now if you keep treating us like this then when we grow up your pension funds and retirement plans will be diverted into the “should have been nicer when you had the chance” fund. And then see how you like it.

    Except that when people stop being teenagers (ie: they grow older) they suddenly start to realize how irritating teenagers are. Much worse behaved than their own generations, of course. And once they remember the youngsters are conveniently unable to vote, they make great scapegoats for a bunch of problems, real and imagined.

  58. #73 Please . How can anyone stop their personal history. If you look over your shoulder, time wise, and find yourself as being an irritant when you were a teen why project your own experience on new teens? Isn’t it better to welcome them into the future? I have been there and done that as a teen. I understand terrorism and would caution your Government to wake up and start to serve the future . Or else.

  59. Wolfiesma- why the hell should kids be sent to some sort of reward-free labour camp for the time they’re not in school?

    Free time is a dangerous problem for all in society, and must be eliminated so that our overlords can have *platinum* Learjets!

  60. “Be nice to your kids. They’ll choose your nursing home. ”

    the only reason people fear teens is because of crap like this

  61. Raj77, I think school *is* a reward-free labor camp. Isn’t that obvious? What I’m suggesting is that kids 14 and up should be paid for doing well in school. I also think they should have work opportunities at that age or even younger. I would think it would be very empowering for youth and we’d see a lot more pro-social behavior from our so-called “troubled youth.”

  62. I say England simply stop pussy footing around and kill all the teenagers, foreigners, photographers, bloggers, activists, anarchists, hippies, and net neutrality advocates. Then they can organize splendid little camps in the countryside where newborns will be taken to be raised in the “true” English manner. Also Roderick Spode and the Black Shorts will be majority party for all eternity.

  63. Coincidentally as I read this I was listening to anthropologist Daniel Everett say:

    “Whatever reasons are that stop people wanting to talk to one another that failure to communicate will lead over generations to separate languages.”

  64. They already have blue lights in many public toilets (and pub/club toilets) because they have the opposite effect – they make it harder to find a vein to shoot up into.

  65. As for the ‘Mosquito’ repeller, I am 35 and can hear the noise. If I was anywhere near the thing I’d be assaulted by noise and request the thing removed, as I don’t agree with repelling age specifics. Wait a minute, isn’t that Agism?

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