Safety at the Touch of a Button


I am amazed at how many apps are out there that are designed to "help keep you safer" when your out on your own.  My concern is that they are another way of selling (even if they are free) a false sense of security to women.

These apps are used from everything from "when you want to take a night run alone" to "going on a blind date."  That's just a couple of their suggestions for use.  I spent a good amount of time reading these apps in the link, as well as others in my app store.  A lot of what I read should have just said:

 "you no longer have to be responsible for your choices"

For the most part, this is how the apps work:

1) You can let loved ones know where you are going and what time you should return. If you don't check in by a certain time,  it sends out a message to your designated contacts (who in most cases, by the way, also have to have the app downloaded)

2) Some Apps have a button you press when you feel you are in danger. The app then sends out a notification to your designated contacts giving them your (really your phone's) current location.

3) A few others I read about are used more specifically for running, biking , hiking and other outdoor activities. If you stop moving for more than 5 minutes, it will ask you to press a button confirming that you are okay. If you don't respond within a certain amount of time, the app again notifies your contacts that you may need help.

All of this being said, I think these apps could be helpful in the case of an accident or injury where maybe you were unable to call for help.  I can also see a benefit in this, especially with teens coming and going, college students with night classes etc.  It's always a good plan for someone to know where you are and when to expect you back.  The challenge is that some are using them as a safety net for being able to do certain activities and not have to take the responsibility of planning safer methods of doing them.

First of all, NOTHING can take the place of being responsible for your own safety. There is no gadget or app that has the ability to magically give you confidence or to keep you safe.

Secondly, lets say that the app you chose sends a notification to your contacts because you are in imminent danger.  Most victim / predator interactions last about 90 seconds.  911 response times for OKC have been posted at an average of 10 minutes, with the best recorded time at around 4 minutes.

So at best, emergency services will get to you about 2 and a half minutes after the incident, and after the assailant is long gone.  With the app,  you have to add in the time it took for it to send the notification to your contact, who then will probably call you first, and then when you don't or can't answer, may call 911, who will still be a minimum of 4 minutes out. 

Even then, they only have the last known location for your phone, but not necessarily you.

Take the time to plan out what you do.  From outdoor activities to campus life, and yes, even blind dating. Preparation is key is staying safer.  Many bad situations can be avoided given good planning.  "If you fail to plan, then plan to fail." Your safety is YOUR responsibility.

Stay Safe,

Coach Jessi