MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A new smartphone app definitely takes the prize for “most creepy.”
The “Girls Around Me” app can get you up close and personal with a female who has no idea who you are, and the idea is not going over well in the Mid-south.
The website for Girls Around Me claims it is the perfect complement to any pick-up situation, but the only thing it’s picking up in the Memphis area is the indignation of women.
“This is known now as the stalker app,” said Detective Barbara Tolbert of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
The Girls Around Me app utilizes Facebook and other social networks, ties it all into Google Maps, and can pinpoint the exact location of anyone around you at any given time, complete with photos and personal information.
“He targeted it by offering girls, young women, as the lure,” said Deborah Clubb, Executive Director of the Memphis Area Women’s Council. “That is absolutely horrific.”
Unlike other internet tools, Girls Around Me can track you right down to your current footsteps.
“Even to the point that if you have checked into a hotel via the internet, predators can say this teen or female, period, just checked into a hotel, she’s hanging out at this bar, she’s hanging out at this restaurant.”
“It’s a terrifying idea,” Clubb told abc24.com.
The creators of Girls Around Me say the negative reaction reflects a misunderstanding of the app's goals, and offered this statement:
“The app was designed to make it easier for a user to step outdoors and hang out in a city, find people with common interests and new places to go.”
“I was young once,” said Memphian Susan Baker, “and that’s not the way to do it. That’s for predators; that’s all that is for.”
Girls Around Me even provides a ratio of men to women in a given area.
“I think that is totally spooky,” said Memphis resident Mitzi Pruette, “very scary.”
It is certainly very creepy.
“If there is a stalker looking for girls, then this is a great app for them to use.” Tolbert told abc24.com.
“When you equip them with something like this and make it trendy, clever, fun and a quick way to do things,” said Clubb, “I don’t think that’s benefiting our culture at all.”
“This world is just getting sicker and sicker,” said Baker.
Girls Around Me has now been voluntarily removed from the App Store, but its creators say they will re-tool and be back.
In the meantime, email comments like this were common:
“It is one thing to have your friends view your information, another to have strangers stalk you. Some things should be done in good taste. This is not one of them.”