Risky business

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The recent release of a texting app that allows students at the University of Regina to get in touch with a random, anonymous texter isn’t a bad idea, but poses certain risks to users.

The app, called URconnecting, is easy to sign up for — all one needs to do is provide their University of Regina email address, age, sex and major to connect with other students on campus anonymously.

Admittedly, this app isn’t a revolutionary invention. It’s similar to other social media networking tools such as Omegle, Grindr and Chatroulette, in that it allows individuals to connect with others without revealing much of their identity.

These examples all have some positive aspects to them — mainly they’re used to help people connect with one another with some degree of anonymity, allowing individuals to form more honest relationships.

Yet they also all have a reputation for sometimes attracting people with questionable motives, especially when accessible to any member of the larger public.

URconnecting, which went public at the beginning of September, aims to reduce these risks by limiting users to ones at the University of Regina.

While this app may help students meet others on campus, whether it is with friendly or romantic intentions, it also could allow for the creation of a network that can be abused for dishonest and suspicious motives.

Someone can easily lie about their identity, for example, causing problems if individuals take their connections past the app and agree to meet in person.

It’s still unclear whether this app will take off — its fate may be the same of programs such as LikeALittle, which became popular for a year at Queen’s, and then quickly fell to the wayside.

If it’s successful, users should be cautious. While the app may allow one to make new friends with honest, well-meaning people, there is no guarantee that the app may not also attract users with less reliable intentions.

— Journal Editorial Board

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