Technology has many uses – from entertainment to education and back again. One of the promises of technology was that it would make us safer.
Better home security, cameras, business security, etc. Much of this technology is available on your phone, and there are now apps that will help ensure your personal safety as well.
Whether you have to walk home from working a late shift alone, or you simply want to set up some precautions, personal safety apps are coming into their own.
In fact, the White House issues ‘Apps Against Abuse’ challenge, in order to fund the creation of new personal safety apps.
The combination of video, GPS, calling, and wireless abilities makes your smartphone and ideal personal safety device.
It’s not perfect, but at the very least you almost always carry it with you. There are apps designed to keep your kids safe, to call for help, and more.
You’re not being paranoid by installing one of these apps. Bad things can happen, and a little peace of mind is worth a lot.
Here are our favourite personal safety apps.
Companion is perfect for those of us who have to walk home alone at night. Many of us would prefer not to do this, but we simply don’t have a choice.
The app is free and easy to use.
Basically, it sends a live map of your walk home to loved ones that you choose as “companions”.
The app is intuitive, because your companions don’t have to download the app. They are texted a link to a GPS map of your location.
If your headphones is pulled out or your speed changes dramatically, the app will ask you if you are okay. If you don’t respond, it will notify your companions that something is wrong.
This app is one of the more popular personal safety apps. It is very similar to the Companion app, just presents a few more features in their paid option.
The app allows you to set up a network of family and friends that are dubbed “guardians”. These people can then follow you home on the app. The interface for this is similar to watching an Uber driver pick you up.
If you’re in trouble, you can hit a button which sounds an emergency alarm, sends you location and a message alert to your guardians, and will begin recording video. All of the video, voice, and location information is stored in bsafe’s servers, not on your phone where it could be deleted or destroyed.
One of the handy features in this app is the “Fake Call” button. If you need to make an exit, the app allows you to set up a timer, which will activate a fake phone call. Perfect for getting out of an uncomfortable date!
This app allows you to alert your close contacts, call police, play a siren, and start recording audio and video with a single tap. It allows you to have up to 10 close contacts, and it will send them your location if you tap the emergency button.
The app also stored all of the audio and video in the cloud, so even if you lose your phone, it will be there.
There are two levels of alerts. One, the yellow button will simply let your loved ones know where you are, and that you’re getting concerned for your safety. The other, (red button) will call police, alert contacts, send your location, play a siren, and record audio/video.
(Sorry no image for this app as it didn’t seem to be available in my area, please check it may be available where you are)
This app is designed for hikers, runners, cyclists, and anyone who doesn’t like having their phone with them at all times. Basically, you set a timer for how long you’ll be out (ideally, you make this fairly generous) and if you don’t check in before the timer is out, it sends an alert to your trusted contacts via text and email.
This is also good for simple things like going on a first date, buying something from somebody, taking cab rides, etc. The app is totally free.
Circle of 6
This app was the winner of the 2011 White House “Apps Against Abuse” competition we mentioned earlier. It’s very simple and works. You pick six friends or family members to be in your circle, and then any time you need to get picked up, called, or texted, you can hit on of three buttons: car, phone, or chat.
There’s also a danger button that will immediately connect you to hotlines for victims of sexual or domestic abuse.
This app seems to have changed names a few times, but if you search for Life360, it will turn up. It’s one of the most popular location sharing apps. You can get automatic notification when your family comes home from work or school, or when they complete drives.
You can also view their location in real time on a map. Their history is also saved, so you can see a family members travel history. The app also has the ability to track down a lost or stolen iPhone in much the same way as Find My iPhone.
A few other features in the app: driving summaries so that you can see if your child was driving safely, a private chat within the app for easy communication, and driver crash detection.
Find My Friends
This is an Apple app that comes preinstalled on any new iPhone using iOS 8 or later.
If you’ve had your phone for a while, this is an Apple app that can be deleted, so if it’s not on your phone, just type Find My Friends into the app store.
Find My Friends will do the same thing as Family Locater, but without the focus on family life.
It doesn’t have a chat feature or notification or any driving information, it’s just an easy way to keep track of your loved ones.
You can decide whether or not to share your location at any time within the Find My Friends app, because you probably don’t want everyone knowing where you are at all times.
The app is probably best used between friends, instead of between family.