Well – another day, another disturbing app. Nobody really thinks of Apps from the iTunes store as unsafe, but a few apps have caused questions concerning your phone’s privacy. So unless you are searching for some new juicy middle school drama or unless you want to be stalked unknowingly, you should probably avoid these apps: “Yik Yak”, “Girls Around Me”, “Creepy”, and “Tinder.”
The app “Yik Yak” is similar to “Twitter,” except for the fact that everything is anonymous. A slogan for “Yik Yak” attracts all bored teenagers searching for weekly drama: “No profile, no password — it’s all anonymous.”
Since most middle-schoolers have a tendency to bully (or cyberbully each other), they will most likely gravitate toward “Yik Yak” because of this appearance of anonymity; however, be warned.
Before you type “Becky LITERALLY looks like her dog” into “Yik Yak” to seek revenge for the girl who invited your best friend to a sleepover without you, doublecheck the option in settings for location. Yes, you read correctly, the location can be tracked. While this app appears anonymous, if anything too inappropriate is posted, there can be consequences. For the seventeen year old high school student from California, his fake bomb threat posted on “Yik Yak” ended up not being as funny as he thought. The student was charged with three felony accounts after his seemingly harmless prank.
The app “Girls Around Me¨ is useful for desperate guys who don’t have the confidence to meet a girl face to face, so they resort to the internet to meet their true love. “Girls Around Me” is literally a map of girls using a location-based app called “Foursquare” to determine their exact location. As if that is not creepy enough, the girls also have no knowledge whatsoever that they are being stalked. The app can also link to their Facebook so the user can then find out what they look like, their favorite food, favorite band, and anything else the “victim” thought was “private” on her Facebook page. But hey, you never know, that guy who has been stalking you for the past few months and just happens to know everything about you might be your true love! But let’s be honest, that is just sketchy.
Talk about an app really living up to it’s name, “Creepy” is just exactly what one would assume. The app uses “Twitter” and “Flickr” data to track people from all over by using just their usernames. Once you enter their ID you will receive their exact location on Google Earth. And if anyone feels the need to show off their intelligence and get all scientific, the location’s satellite points are conveniently available for use. So, if any curious girlfriends are trying to find out where their loyal and loving boyfriend is, simply type in his username and let the stalking begin.
Looking for a last minute prom date or maybe a summer fling? Download “Tinder” to search for that lucky someone (or be unluckily passed over with a slide of the finger)! Users are matched by Facebook and by location together; then, if you simply click “like” when you see their picture and information (and they also click “like”), then you can begin messaging each other. But if you just cannot picture yourself with this person you can click “pass.” How romantic! While this app uses mutual agreement before users can interact, teenagers should not rely on the internet for dating.
Bottom line people: turn off your location settings and stop downloading apps that will accomplish nothing but make you look creepy and desperate. You are all welcome for this much needed Public Service Announcement.