Mobile technology is now the norm. Social media and mobile apps form a huge percentage of the way in which we communicate and even behave; it’s shaping our lives socially, psychologically and psychically. But in a time where the world is smaller yet more unpredictable than ever, how does mobile technology keep us safer than we were before?
Facebook Safety Check
The Facebook Safety Check is a feature on the social networking site that is activated during natural or man-made disasters to enable you to ‘check in’ as safe if you are in the affected area. The safety check was activated during the South Indian floods and the Nepal Earthquake and has been activated 10 times in 2016 so far - every single one due to a terrorist attack. For me, this is a social media tool that makes me proud to be part of the ‘social media generation’. At times, with Twitter trolls and anonymous comment culture I wonder whether social media is one of the worst things to happen to society but when tools such as the Facebook Safety Check are used to mark people safe during terrorist attacks it’s hard to argue so.
Find My iPhone
The ‘find my iPhone’ setting allows you to track the location of your phone via GPS which is undoubtedly helpful if your phone is lost or stolen. However, the application also has the capability of saving lives. Last year, missing university student James Hubert was located thanks to the ‘find my iPhone’ setting. Having been missing for more than two days after leaving a party his friends organised a search party to no avail. However upon using the ‘find my iPhone’ app to see where he was last located, his friends were led to a railway track almost 7 miles from where James was last seen at the party. His friends discovered him injured about 10 minutes away from the train track and took him to hospital where he was treated. Reports on what had happened to James are conflicted with James claiming to have been attacked by a homeless person whilst CCTV caught him jumping off a bridge onto a moving train.
Safeture, created by The Global Warning System, is just one of the many new apps that provide real-time alerts and information about security, safety and health threats to travellers all around the world whilst keeping them in contact with their family and friends at home. This summer, Safeture are launching a Rio-specific app to ensure that people travelling to Rio for the Olympics will be safe with alerts ranging from political protests to updates on the Zika virus.
“In preparations for the games in Rio, we have put together a dedicated monitoring group consisting of professional analysts that will keep a close eye on everything that unfolds before, during and in the aftermath of the event. If something unexpected occurs, GWS app users will be the first to know and they will be professionally advised on how to act,” Johan Tinnerholm, COO at Safeture.
Vismo is a phone tracking app that is designed for use during and after terrorist attacks and other incidents to track its users and transfer vital information. Used during the Charlie Hebdo attack, the app turns into a tracking device with a panic button when activated by the user; email and texts alerts are automatically sent in real time to key contacts and the phone sends covert audio recordings to those contacts which can be pivotal in gaining inside information on the situation. The server also shares also its information with the emergency services with precise coordinates of the location.
St John Ambulance
The first aid app, created by St John Ambulance, gives users first aid advice ranging from CPR to allergic reactions. With up to 140,000 people dying each year in situations where first aid could have saved them, the app offers step by step prompts for a range of emergencies from mild accidents to severe medical conditions.
With 80,000 sex workers in the United Kingdom, the risk of violent crime against them is disproportionately high with a lot of victims reluctant to report attacks to the police; the result being that crimes against sex workers not only go unpunished but are often repeated. Reason Digital have developed an app to improve the safety of sex workers through real time safety alerts, reports of suspicious behavior and a panic button; all whilst remaining anonymous.
These are just some of the many mobile technologies and applications that are being created to help save lives in today’s society. With communication happening at a faster rate than ever before, it’s important to be able to keep each other safe and updated with as much information as possible to make the new world a safer and more secure place.