Crisis Tech Review: Companion App - 'Never Walk Home Alone'
The Companion app is the latest app in personal safety - allowing you to allocate friends, family, or security departments to track your movements as you walk home.
How it works
Companion has a number of nifty instalments including 'smart triggers' which trigger alerts when the phone detects running, your headphones being pulled out of the jack, or you diverting off your proposed path.
When an alert is triggered, the app will ask if you're ok and if you don't respond, it will trigger an alert to the specified contacts or security team, as well sound an audible alarm from the phone itself.
At any stage you can call the police (the latest version of the app now allows this to work in Australia as well), or log that you feel nervous.
The app also keeps a record of all the places at which users have triggered incidents or noted that they feel ‘unsafe’.
How it has been received
A quick read of the reviews on social media and the app stores reveal plenty of positive feedback from users acknowledging that the app has contributed to them generally feeling safer on their journey home.
On the other hand, a lot of people have also voiced some insecurities about the effectiveness of the app to limit incidents from happening in the first place...
While the companion app contributes to a feeling of safety, it may not do much to stop an incident from actually occurring. Sure, the police or your ‘companion’ can be notified of a potential incident, but unless they’re around the corner, by the time they have arrived, most incidents would be well and truly over.
The feeling of ‘safety' generated by the companion app may also lead to users taking more risks under the misguided belief of being invincible rather than taking necessary precautions - such as avoiding walking home after dark (where possible), taking a taxi or uber, or asking someone to accompany you home.
On the whole, the app is a step in the right direction but users must be mindful that it is not a personal bodyguard and is unlikely to stop an incident from occurring in the first place.
People should always take the proper precautions to avoid ending up in dangerous situations.
When it comes to student safety in particular, our recommended safety app is CriticalArc’s SafeZone. SafeZone’s integration with campus security and first aid services is comprehensive, and the ability to send campus-wide notifications to all students, with directions on what immediate actions the students need to take to stay safe during an emergency, is an invaluable feature for student safety.
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