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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research student life

Kinsey app allows users to report, log sexual activity

This Valentine’s Day the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction is asking big questions through a smartphone app called Kinsey Reporter.

Kinsey Reporter allows users to report and view anonymous data on sexual behavior on a global scale.

“We’re taking advantage of this little app to see how people feel about Valentine’s Day and what the reality is for people’s experience,” said Jennifer Bass, Kinsey Institute director of communications.

The survey contains questions about what the user desires and expects for Valentine’s Day.

Answer options include commitment, a romantic date, to be left alone and sex.

When Valentine’s Day ends, users have the option to record what actually
happened.

The Kinsey Institute collaborated with the Center for Complex Networks and Systems
Research to create the app.

After the Kinsey Reporter’s initial launch in 2012, CNetS Director Filippo Menczer said, it was shut down by the University for legal review concerning privacy issues.

The mobile app was launched again last May with bugs, which were then remedied.
Updates were installed by November.

The Kinsey App maps out the data it collects, available for public viewing.

As well as sexual activity and flirting, users can report unwanted or unconsenting experiences in the app.

“Obviously we encourage rape to be reported, but we also know it’s highly unreported,” Menczer said.

The Kinsey Reporter app acts as a tool for people who are less likely to report such cases, he said.

“There are also other acts which are not illegal, depending on the country,” Menczer said.

“We want to know about those as well. Our app is designed from the ground up to assure the anonymity of all the participants.”

Several design choices were made with this in mind, Menczer said.

For example, there is no way to create an account asking for personal information, write your own response to questions or report specific places and times.

“I thought the app was really good because it lets you survey a larger group of people,” sophomore Emilee Bailey said.

“It allows people to be more honest, in my opinion, since it is in private.”
Data collected by the Kinsey Reporter is viewable by anyone. Users can view the data
by organizing it into charts or graphs by top countries, cities or tags.

It was the first time Bailey heard of a survey app of this kind, she said.

However, she would like to see more expansion on the questions aside from the generic ones, she said.

“Valentine’s Day is coming, and we really want to know what is happening in people’s lives. When I say ‘we want to know’ I don’t mean ‘we’ the researchers,” Menczer said.
“I mean there is an interest for the community to learn more about what people desire and want.”

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