Many new phone apps cross line between safety and common sense

By: Steven Goodman – Asst. Opinions Editor

Recently, I opened the app store on my newly updated iOS-8 iPhone which now features a “trending search terms” screen. Whenever I see a title on this screen that strikes me as bizarre or interesting, I’ll select it for curiosity’s sake.

This time, I saw an app towards the top of the list with the name Cuddlr. I had no idea what this was, so, naturally, I selected it learn what its purpose was.

Apparently this app, Cuddlr, is a social networking app of sorts: it allows the user to find other people who are nearby that, as the name suggests, want to cuddle.

Hopefully, I’m not the only person that finds this app incredibly weird and way too trusting of strangers.

I find that some apps are becoming far too trusting of individuals, but this one is the farthest across the line I have ever seen.

The “sharing economy” is a term that has shown up in the last few years in reference to apps and websites with a (slightly) similar idea: allowing individuals to rent or sell their items to those visiting the area or passing through.

Apps such as Airbnb, ParkatmyHouse and Crunchbutton allow people to rent out their apartments or rooms in their homes, lease out driveway space for those who need a place to park and enable UD students to have food delivered from Brown Street, are ideas I would not question.

I’ve used something similar to Airbnb when in Europe a few years ago, and I see nothing wrong with making some extra money allowing people to park their car in others’ driveways.

That being said, there are some applications that I am wary of, no matter how many people have used them successfully.

Take for example the app Lyft, which allows you to find a ride from anyone who is willing to turn his or her personal vehicle into a taxi.

No matter how many background checks the driver goes through, I still doubt I’d ever feel comfortable hitching a ride from a complete stranger in their personal vehicle.

However, an app such as Lyft seems perfectly normal to me compared to other sharing economy ideas: renting out your personal car (RelayRides) or boat (Boatbound) to a complete stranger, hosting an authentic local dinner in your own home (Feastly) or leaving your dog at an unfamiliar house while you are away (DogVacay).

These ideas seem far too trusting to me. I am sure that the majority of the people offering or taking advantage of these services would never do any harm, but I’m not at that trust level with a complete stranger.

Who knows, maybe in a few years the sharing economy will be the norm, and the next generation won’t hesitate to rent anything from hiking equipment to a car from a stranger.

For now I think I’ll stick to eBay and Craigslist for my part in the sharing economy.

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