This weekend I discovered how desperate lonely teenagers have ruined the Internet.
This post is strictly an opinion of the author and no way reflects n3rdabl3’s opinions as a whole.
Now bare with me here while I have a bit of a rant, and if you’re one of the aforementioned lonely desperate teenagers who frequent the Internet, bugger off because this post really isn’t for you.
First, let me begin with a quick story that kind of sparked this little rant of mine. I was browsing the Google Play Store this weekend for something a little different. While many are excited by Snapchat, or even the latest craze, Meerkat or Periscope (depending on which one you prefer), I personally don’t have an interesting enough life to use the latter, and the former is rarely used by any of my friends.
So hoping to find something unique I discovered Fling. Now, the core concept of the app is that you can share and receive things such as messages, pictures, and videos from random people from all over the world. Now I know what you’re thinking – this is asking for trouble – but I thought I’d give it a chance anyway hoping that the Internet really hasn’t become the seedy place that the media and un-Internet savvy mums and dads believe that it is. I mean, I’ve had success with things like reddit’s Secret Santa, so why wouldn’t this be the same as that?
I had the app installed for a few days before finding the perfect opportunity to share a miserable British morning with some random 50 strangers across the world. “Cool!” I thought as I ‘flung’ the image out to the world, “Some one in Australia has received my image!” It wasn’t until I got home that morning after walking the dog that I realised I’d made a huge mistake by installing the app. An app which, at least in my opinion, has the premise to be pretty awesome, turns out to just be an app for desperate teenagers (mostly male) looking for pictures of tits.
That’s right, I received 50 “flings” from across the world, The Netherlands, Australia, North America, Brazil, to name a few, which featured a series of images of teenage guys either in bed, flexing muscles, topless, or shameless selfies accompanied by a message along the lines of “looking for sum fun.” Hoping this wasn’t all I’d see, I continued to receive and (reluctantly) open these “flings,” in the hopes that I’d receive something interesting, something unique, and something other than a desperate teenager looking to get off over someone silly enough to send a nude picture of themselves to Enrique from Spain.
Out of around 200 images and messages I was “flung” only two of them were images that I’d originally hoped to see. One was from Norway with someone showing the snowfall they were having, another was from The United Arab Emirates with someone showing a video of some camels walking on the beach. This is what I hoped to see, and I did, but around two per cent isn’t enough to keep me around and I swiftly uninstalled the app. Unfortunately Fling’s Facebook and Twitter feeds tell a very different story from the one you’ll actually experience, but it’s an example of the sort of thing I was hoping for.
This isn’t the first time I’ve come across desperate teens looking for a bit of exposed flesh. Pretty much any app that offers the ability to post messages onto an open forum for others to see will have a collection of (mostly guys, again) looking for someone to sext, and that’s just not something I want to see.
“Then why get these apps in the first place, ya dingus?”
Because why should I have to avoid socially focused apps because spotty hormone fuelled fellas are looking to cop a feel of themselves over some equally desperate female willing to expose themselves over the Internet? I’m pretty sure there are specific apps for this exact thing which many of us know to steer clear of (Tinder being one of them) so why should fairly innocent apps such as Fling and Meow Chat be full of the same filth?
I was one of the many people who grew up on the Internet. I was a frequent user of MSN’s chat rooms before they were shut down due to.. well.. y’know.. I was one of the very few people who spent actual cash on Habbo Hotel in order to kit out my private room to look AWSOME. And I’m sure even today there’s youngsters who are happily enjoying Club Penguin without the fear of opening up a message from some desperate “lad” looking for a good time. In fact, back then we knew the Internet could have been a dangerous place, so we were cautious, something you don’t see nowadays when you’ve got young kids tweeting where they’ll be meeting each other the next day..
I think I’m just annoyed that we can’t have nice things, and that something so simple as sending an interesting picture across the world to 50 strangers can’t be done without hoards of hormone crazy teenagers sending pictures of their knobs. I know it can be done. Take Yik Yak for example, a messaging app that lets people in your area post anonymous messages for others nearby to see. So far I haven’t seen a single person proposing sex or asking for a picture of someone’s unmentionables in return for a picture of their own. Yik Yak, although it’s particularly quiet in my area, is actually pretty tame.
I hate to say it, but in a time where we’re becoming ridiculously connected, teens like this are going to ruin the Internet.
This is no way a review of the Fling app, maybe you yourself will have a different experience, this however was mine. And though the app had no flaws and was fairly simple and easy to use, it was it’s users which made the experience terrible, something which we know can’t be prevented, especially for an app with such an open concept.