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“I’m 12 Years Old and What is This?”, also known as “I’m 12 and what is this?”, is a catchphrase typically used to react to something that is considered vulgar or outlandish, such as x-rated media. It is sometimes used to express general confusion, similar to “wat” and “what is this I don’t even”.
During Operation Porn Day on May 20th, 2009, one of the many Operation YouTube raids, 4chan users flooded the video-sharing site with x-rated clips under the guise of popular adolescent entertainment like Lazy Town, Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus.
The next day, the BBC reported on the attack and quoted the now-infamous YouTube comment in one of the videos seen at :37 during the on-air segment:
In one video titled Jonas Brother Live On Stage, a user posted a comment saying: “I’m 12 years old and what is this?”
The phrase is typically used to bring attention to the presence of sexually explicit or shocking material. On November 15th, 2011, the phrase was used as the title for a Body Building Forums thread with a sexually explicit YouTube embed which has since been deleted.
The phrase can be used to express general bewilderment and confusion as shown in a Nintendo forums post from February 26th, 2011.
The earliest archived mention on 4chan was posted as a reply to a thread titled “A blind guy on /b/” on May 18th, 2009:
The first Urban Dictionary definition was submitted on July 25th, 2009:
Internet meme that came about after some kid said it on a comment when Youtube.com was raided with porn. Usually said after something that adults talk about/kids wouldn’t get. Not to be said in real life, like most other memes. On August 24th, 2009, the comedy network Barely Digital published a blog post about the phrase’s origin.
There are thousands of Yahoo Answers results for the question “I’m 12 and what is this?” Several Facebook groups referencing the phrase have been created, the most popular of which “I’m 12 and what is this?” has accumulated 1,505 likes as of January 25th, 2012.
Star Wars MMO: ToS Violation
On Januart 21st, 2012, a thread was submitted to the /r/gaming subreddit titled “It’s been said before, but we really need to boycott EA/Bioware. Here’s the newest bullshit” featuring a screenshot of an email from a Bioware staff member for their latest multiplayer role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic. In the email, the player was told that they were being suspended for admitting they were under 13 years of age by chatting “I’m 12 and what is this.”
After several Redditor’s questioned the screenshot’s authenticity, the original poster uploaded a video to YouTube to prove that the email was real:
The story was subsequently covered by the video game blog Kotaku on January 23rd.