Location sharing apps are a measure of friendship
Okoro felt betrayed when she was told her boyfriend stopped sharing his iPhone address with her.
19-year-old Olive Okoro still shares her whereabouts with about ten of her closest friends each day. With Apple’s Find My tool, you can instantly see where the other person is without asking. Okoro’s group sees this as a way to strengthen their friendship.
However, this comfort often puts them in awkward situations. People like Okoro get notified via iMessage when someone starts or stops sharing a location.
“Receiving location alerts is such a privilege. But when someone stops sharing, you feel small and hated,” she says.
When his relationship with two bandmates soured this summer, the first thing Okoro did was not block phone numbers or social media accounts. She stopped sharing her location with them. “When a friendship ends, I want them to know by turning off my surroundings,” she says.
This app, which launched on the iPhone in 2011 as Find My Friends, is now a tool that helps users locate Apple devices, as well as a way for people to know where they are. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center report, only 7% of American adults said they shared their location with friends on social media. By 2022, according to the Harris Poll, 69% of young adults and 77% of millennials say they will occasionally engage in this behavior, compared to 62% of US adults.
follow up New York time, the use of Find My has become an important factor in the friendship of many young people. When they’re on your Find My List, they’ll feel the intimacy of a close friends list on Instagram or a private chat on Snapchat.
On the surface, location sharing is a way of letting loved ones know they’re always safe, but it compromises privacy and sometimes makes friendships difficult.
Jade Calvin Now, 24, from New York, meets about 18 of her college friends through Find My. When they were at school together, it was a way of knowing if everyone was okay after a long night out. Calvin says instead of texting everyone saying “Where are you,” let’s go to the app and check it out.
After her graduation, icons representing her other 18 friends were scattered around the world. They still regularly check apps and play games that require you to guess each other’s location. “It’s like a social network. You can update information like Twitter.”
However, tracking another person’s location can sometimes ruin relationships. One day in July, Shay Pierre opened Find My on his iPhone and was surprised to see his friend’s whereabouts in an unfamiliar apartment. She zoomed in on the building, snapped a photo and sent it to her friends as a joke. Later his friend admitted that they had met. “Without this device, I wouldn’t have known about my boyfriend’s new relationship,” said Pierre.
However, when he later found a place for another building, Pierre was marked as “None of your business”.
According to Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, location tracking poses a privacy risk, especially when users don’t know who is sharing their location with whom. Now it’s become a measure of intimacy, and no one resists the habit of sharing.
“Many people may initially agree to share, but the friendship is not the same and it will be very difficult for them to stop,” Galperin said.
Social experts say this trend has changed the way friends communicate with each other and is eroding the boundaries of privacy. You simply check each other’s location, thus skipping conversations. Instead of asking what their friends are doing, how they are, they can get this information from Find My.
Amanda Lenhart, a researcher at Data & Society who focuses on how technology affects families, said the “fear of missing out” mentality that plagues many social media users is slowly spreading to users of Location sharing tools like Facebook are spreading. Find mine
“Your friends may have gathered without you. It brings emotional comfort,” said Lenhart.
That’s what happened to 22-year-old Karin Irwin from El Paso. When the outbreak broke out last year and people were urged to limit going out, she found out that 5 of her friends weren’t home. This leads Irwin to believe that despite being banned, they are still trying to get together. Psychoactive relaxation combined with concerns for the safety of his friends slowly drives Irwin into an addiction and he needs to see a psychologist.
“I feel safe knowing where my friends are and they know where I am. The doctor suggested I cancel mine. But I thought I couldn’t,” Irwin said.
Lu Kui (Consequences New York time)