You get a text message from a number you don't recognize, so you decide to open it, and it says "Someone complimented you! See more on IRL" and there are 2 links underneath, one for the Apple App Store, and one for Google Play Store. I have received this text twice and found out that the link takes you to download the app.

So, what exactly is the IRL app? And, like other notices I have seen, is it really a link to sex trafficking? According to the IRL FAQ page, this is an app that allows people to make plans outside of social media. "IRL (which stands for "in real life") is an app that makes it easy and fun to send and receive invites to hang out with friends in real life." IRL's Mission Statement:

What is IRL’s mission?
IRL aims to solve technology addiction by bringing people together in real life. We’re more connected today than we’ve ever been, thanks to social. However, we feel more isolated than ever before. On average, US consumers spend 5 hours on their phones each day, and nowhere is this trend more worrisome than with teens. Several recent studies have found a link between smartphone usage and teen depression and suicide. IRL was designed to boost its users’ self-confidence and take away the anxiety and social pressure of inviting friends to hang out in real life. The alternative to IRL is group text messages. With text messages, you’re automatically opting people into a thread that they may not want to be part of. If one person says no, it may influence the response of others in the group, and it leaves a trail of rejection in our text message inbox. With IRL, our goal is to simply help our users spend more time with their friends in the real world, in order to boost their overall happiness.
Sounds ok right? IRL has said that the only way that you will get a message from them is because a friend, someone who has your contact information, has invited you to an event, has nominated you for something, or has invited you to download the app as well. You can reply STOP to these messages and IRL has said it will no longer message you. This is a good reminder, I am going to text STOP back the next time I get this message.
The viral tweet about this app being linked to sex trafficking, the text of which is; “LADIES, if you have received a text recently saying ‘a friend has complimented you in IRL’ With a link attached below it, DO NOT open the link! It is linked to sex trafficking. All your information, (including location) can be taken simply by clicking on the link. SO DON’T DO IT!”, is false. You can read more about that here.
I think the best description I have read explaining the app came from this Newsweek article; "The app allows users to choose an activity, time and place, and then invite their friends in the app to that event—sort of like a Google Calendar invite for teens"
 My thoughts; as a parent, definitely check your child's phone/s, do your research, and check your facts. Not everything on the Internet is 100% true. While I agree that social media platforms have their place, do we really need another one to make plans with friends? Why not text individually? Send out a Facebook invite? Or, go old-school and actually call your friends. That mobile device in your hands is also a phone, designed for making and receiving phone calls.
Smartphone with app icons

More From KRFO-AM