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Students see practicality, danger in social apps

Students are using apps not only to chart their schedules and play games, but meet new people as well.
Social apps such as Tinder are rising in popularity, and students are taking advantage. Tinder uses Facebook information to match individuals, and users are able to chat with each other after expressing mutual interest in one another.

First-year Morgan Wieman downloaded Tinder because her friends had the app, but said she has yet to use it to meet new people.

Wieman said a friend met an individual they met on Tinder and brought along other friends for safety.

“I haven’t met with anyone,” Wieman said. “I probably wouldn’t do it alone.”

University Police Department Sergeant Dean Tomkins-Searcy said the safety of the meeting site should be the priority of any meeting. Tomkins-Searcy said the meeting should take place in a public setting.

“This is always a good idea when meeting anyone new as you ultimately know nothing about them,” Tomkins-Searcy said.

However, students such as sophomore Gretchen McLaughlin stray away from social apps.

“If I want someone to know where you are, you’ll tell them,” McLaughlin said.

First-year Atara Wipf also said she stays away from apps such as Tinder.

“It’s creepy for one, and it’s not safe,” Wipf said. “I would never put myself in that situation.”

Students rely on security settings for safety, such as sophomore Katie Keitges, who said she has never used social apps to make friends.

“You don’t know who they are,” Keitges said. “It’s very scary, and we’re really ignorant about that fact. I use all the privacy settings I know.”

Sophomore Amanda Salazar also sees safety risks in social apps and said it would be easy for an individual to create a fake profile.

“I watch too much SVU,” Salazar said.

Other apps show users who is in the immediate area by using social media profiles. Some of these apps allow users to set favorite locations to view at any time.

First-year Katie Loutsch said students should pay more attention to license agreements to avoid any possible security or privacy risks.

“By putting yourself up there, it’s consensual,” Loutsch said. “You sign your rights away.”

Junior Debbie Mika uses FourSquare, an app where users check in to locations to gain points. If a user gains enough points, they are named the mayor of a location by an app. Users can search for a location to see what others users have checked in.

“My cousin and I make a game of it,” Mika said. “It gets fun.”

After using the app for two years, Mika has become the mayor of many locations in Vermillion, including UCopy, McFadden Hall, the Al Neuharth Media Center and the Muenster University Center.
Mika said while social apps can be dangerous, there are a lot of useful applications for the apps.
“If a bank is robbed, you can see how many hostages are inside and see who is there,” Mika said.