The Rise of Paranoia Apps

The NSA’s tapping our phones, kids aren’t safe in their own schools, and there’s a sex offender on every block. Welcome to the age of paranoia. Being afraid of risk, illness, and threats to personal safety are certainly not new phenomena, but these days fear seems to have reached a fever pitch; and technology has given a new twist to terror. Today, there seems to be an app for every fear that we might have.

While these apps and tools like them may help alleviate fears in some ways, they are likely to only amplify them in others. Like the constant media attention given to fear-mongering stories in the last two decades has made Millennials feel they are almost always at risk, the constant presence of apps like these could make users feel like the world is a more dangerous place than it actually is. Our Q&A with “America’s Worst Mom” Lenore Skanezy, and look at some of the hypotheses about the next generation last week both delved into the affect that living in a fear-ruled world might have on post-Millennials. In using paranoia apps, many of which are aimed at keeping children safe and parents’ fears at bay, from a young age, they are potentially being taught that they need these tools in order to safely navigate the world. For young and post-Millennials, connectivity and easy access to information meant to assuage fears might instead serve to increase those fears; which could influence their view of the world. Here’s a look at some of the paranoia apps and tools available now:

 

1. Evado Filip

In 2009, Sten Kirkbak lost his young son Filip in a mall. His son was found quickly, but the panic he felt ultimately led to the invention of Evado Filip, an app to keep parents constantly connected to their kids. This year, the company is premiering their first product: VIVOplay, a small…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “My dream for the future is to become an entrepreneur so I can become my own boss. I also want to become successful to help other people who are in need.” – Female, 23, CA

Seven years after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsHarry Potter is the best-selling book series in history; but it also shaped a generation of children who read it. Millennials—known for their technology reliance—fell in love with these books “about love conquering hate,” waited for their release, grew up with the characters, and found within the books a unifying culture that has lasted far beyond the publishing of the last book. As we’ve said previously, the optimistic story about a unique, special boy destined for great things resonated with Millennials in a time when they too believed they were special and had great expectations for their futures. (BoingBoing)

Millennials are not rushing to tee off, and golf is “suffering from a generation gap.” Over the last five years, participation in the sport has fallen steadily, and the participation rates of 18-34-year-olds dropped 13% from 2009 to 2013, while their rates in other sports has risen significantly. The slow rate of games, the expense, and likely the pretense surrounding golf, could all be contributing to the gap. (WSJ)

An anonymous, adult, toy reviewer is one of YouTube’s biggest stars. DisneyCollectorBR posts videos of toy “unboxings,” watched by millions. Her most watched video is an unwrapping of “egg surprise” trinkets to show what is inside—it has over 90 million views. Apparently, the simple videos of a toy being opened and played with by adult hands are “entrancing” kids, who watch one after another. There is close to no information about the person behind the account online. (BuzzFeed)

Millennial parents continue to be given tools that facilitate their kids’ hyper-monitered childhoods. MamaBear is an “all-in-one worry-free” parenting/monitoring app that recently raised $1.4 million. Through the app, parents can be alerted to where children are, what they’re saying on social media, what photos they’re being tagged in, and even monitors when teen users are speeding. (TechCrunch)

The obesity epidemic has been blamed on many things, from fast food to technology replacing outside play. But one result of the health problem could also be making it tough to conquer: a lot of children who are obese or overweight don’t know it. A recent study found that 76% of kids ages 8-15 who are designated by the CDC as overweight thought they were “about right.” Boys and children from poorer families were more likely to “misperceive” their weight. (NPR)

Quote of the Day: “I unplugged from Facebook and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It is such a time suck. I have other online sites that I can browse to relieve stress or take a break from work without having to see what some random kid in high school is eating for breakfast.” —Female, 23, PA

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