Apps connect friends to form a safety response network
Going to friends for help has become instinctual for youth, with 73% saying they turn to their friends as a support system just as they would their family. Along with evolutions of wearable safety devices, new apps are providing safety platforms that connect friends to provide an extra layer of security.
For young consumers who are highly cognizant of securing their digital privacy, they’re wary of safety apps that constantly track their location. Hope aims to be a platform for urban females that can provide safety assurances without sacrificing privacy. Instead of sharing the user’s specific location with their connections on the app, Hope allows users to check in to general venues such as their home or office, using stickers that communicate if they’re safe without broadcasting their actual address. The app can also show a user’s contacts if their phone is dead or charging.
Technology is being utilized to increase pedestrian safety, and the Companion app is meant to make users feel safe by allowing their friends and family to virtually accompany them on their walk home. Using GPS tracking, contacts selected as the user’s “companions” receive a notification when a user is en route and another when they arrive at their destination. If the user doesn’t complete the journey by the GPS-predicted time, companions are alerted, and a one-touch button is also available for users to contact their companions or the authorities.
Users of Google’s safety app select friends and family to be their “trusted contacts” who are able to view when the user was last active as well as their phone battery status. Trusted contacts can also request a user’s location, such as parents monitoring a child’s activities, and if the request is neither accepted nor denied in five minutes, the location is automatically sent in case the user is in danger. Users can also share their location intentionally when they’re on the move, using one button to notify their trusted contacts or emergency responders if they need assistance.