Students use Hoop to meet strangers online

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Hoop is an app that connects with Snapchat to allow users to meet strangers. Teens link Snap profiles to the app and enter personal information and choose a few pictures to feature to other users worldwide. 

In the past few months, freshmen and sophomores have popularized Hoop. With downloads happening daily, new users to the app, such as freshman Libbi Skaer, use Hoop frequently. 

“I am constantly on it just because I want to meet people outside of Augusta and maybe even out of state or the country,” Skaer said. 

When people go online and put personal information out, they run the risk of being put in problematic situations. Skaer put on her profile her name, age, where she is from and three pictures of herself. 

“Putting my information out there is kind of like being on Instagram. People can see your stuff, but on both Hoop and Instagram you can decline if you do not want to talk to someone,” Skaer said. “I’m a talkative person, so this app is great for me to talk more.”

Sophomore Jensen Ervin uses the app to talk to others as well. Ervin likes to interact with others no matter how he does it. 

“I currently have 76 people who have asked for my Snap on the app that I have accepted,” Ervin said. “You either hit ‘x’ for no or the check mark for yes to get someone’s snap. They can then decide if they want to give their Snap or not.” 

Ervin believes the app is harmless because if any problems occur, blocking someone is an easy way to get out of it. He put all of his social media on his profile, pictures of himself, age, and topics he enjoys. 

“I mostly have Hoop just so I can get more views on my Snapchat story,” Ervin said. 

With all of the interactions of different teens around the world, Ervin has not faced any issues; however, sophomore Kallie Smith’s involvement with the app was different.

“It is truly an awful app, I mean, I thought it was cool at first until I realized what the guys on there really only wanted,” Smith said.

Smith had to face guys that constantly asked for provocative pictures or videos. She declined the questions and got called brutal names by strangers online that she accepted on Snapchat.

“Guys would call me a slut or would threaten me for not sending nudes to them, how does that make sense?” Smith said, “It was very degrading having an app where guys can victimize another girl. I was very disgusted with every guy who asked.” 

Smith compared Hoop to being “a teenage Tinder app” to meet others. Shortly after the encounters with the guys on Hoop, Smith deleted the app and hasn’t had it since. 

“Being a teenage girl is hard enough having to deal with insecurities and fitting in,” Smith said. “No girl should have to be in a position like that with someone they have never met before. The app isn’t worth it at all. I have everyone in my life right now for a reason anyways.”