We have had Tinder and Grindr, heard of Cuddlr? This new app helps locate and unite like-minded huggers nearby.
Is it a good thing? What does it say about our relational skills and needs?
The App developer Charlie Williams was not prepared for the viral whirlwind of Cuddlr’s ‘soft launch’ with more than 152,000 downloads he had to quit his job, with a week to work out the bugs and make basic improvements. He was not prepared for the nations demand to be hugged, no one was.
As you create your account the welcome screens explain the rules of the road along with ratings and safety measures. Yes, you get to rate your snuggle buddy! However, not much is given away about the Cuddlee / Cuddler apart from a picture and a name.
Once you have found your match and accept the invitation to snuggle up, a map appears with locations of both participants and the amount of time it would take to walk to each other. You may already be feeling this is a bit of an ‘out there’ practice but a well-intended concept. However, it doesn’t stop there, the added twist of a ticking clock makes the whole thing seem more like a game than meeting a need. Yes you have a countdown, you have 60 minutes to seal the deal, meet, and embrace.
When you meet to ‘hug’ there are many hugs to choose from: The full frontal embrace, the (awkward) side hug, the bear hug ( rather aggressive in nature) the lay on the ground heads side by side and for the brave ( spooning). In essence and for safety the app advises the huggers meet in public places. So, if spooning a stranger is optional for you then I question our perception on stranger danger in this on-demand world.
On-demand we can get anything from sex, validation, friendship, to our bank statement! Technology has made getting needs met instant and possible but how helpful is instant gratification in answering the human need?
The information age has blurred the lines of stranger danger with accessibilities to perfect strangers made easier, Tindr, Facebook, Snap chat and dating forums are few platforms of many. But whether you agree with the premise of the app or not, hugs are scientifically good for us.
Research shows that a hug lasting 20 seconds or longer:
This is mainly due to the 'Love' chemical Oxytocin being released through the body. Hugging has the potential to improve your relationships, reduce pain and is poignantly most effective in adults. Whatever your belief about our creation, we are designed with detailed knowledge like this in mind. Quite profound to consider for a moment that a primal need. Love. Expressed through a hug, would be most effective in an adult who is ever increasingly distanced from their primal care givers to become a primal care giver to another. That is one of many call and response effects about the human condition that we are constantly learning about.
With apps for just about everything to match the demands of the instant society that we live in, we still find gaps. The ache of our needs are deeper than we comprehended and ache for connections beyond electricity. Cuddlr has pin pointed a need, and could be a good tool for change. I have to conclude that technology should enhance and assist our relational skills making us more effective and well connected people, not lazy and disconnected.