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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“I believe in a higher being, whether it takes the form of a god or it's more abstract like the universe.”—Female, 21, FL

An avocado-inspired chocolate is selling out fast, and Millennials’ obsession with avo is getting the credit—lest we forget the lattes and the proposals of the past. Waitrose’s gimmicky treat has a dark chocolate shell, a dyed green white chocolate interior and small chocolate “stone” sprinkled with cocoa for the center. The play on a traditional Easter egg chocolate is Waitrose’s best-selling product in its 114-year-history, selling out repeatedly since its recent launch. (The Independent)

Vacation companies that confiscate travelers’ smartphones are selling out their trips. The Wanderlust Generation isn’t just looking to travel, they’re looking to unplug—in spite of their penchant for picture-worthy excursions. All of Off the Grid’s phoneless itineraries sold out and more are being added for 2018. Yoga retreats and hotels are offering device-free options as well, with one hotel offering iPhone cases to anyone who makes it 24 hours with just a “dumb phone” replacement. (NYP)

Kids can’t get enough of Roblox, and the platform just went “cash-flow positive.” ComScore found that children under-13-years-old spend more time on Roblox than on YouTube, Netflix, or any other similar platform. For teens, the game came in second, behind YouTube. The gaming sensation lets kids create and interact in digital worlds, build their online friendships, and make money—if they’re a “top creator.” (TechCrunch)

Unboxing is getting an augmented spin for Nike’s next sneaker drop. The Millennial and Gen Z-favorite brand has created a link that leads to “a virtual box” containing the new shoes. Users can access the box via any platform and then open the box and use their cursor or finger to check out the Deerupt shoes from “all angles.” Nike also recently let sneaker heads virtually run across the world in their Nike React shoes via in-store treadmills. (GlossyMobile Marketer)

YouTube Red is headed to the box office for the first time with their original movie, Vulture Club, starring Susan Sarandon. In the past, they’ve premiered content on their premium service and in limited releases, but rumor has it this will be their first big bet on a full theatrical release. Everyone from Amazon to Hulu is upping their original content to compete in the streaming wars, and though YouTube has all eyes on their free platform—their paid service is lagging behind the competition. (IndieWireThe Verge)

“I’ve been using Apple products for years. Although Samsung technology is probably better, I am so used to Apple that I would probably not switch.”—Female, 18, PA

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