5 Mobile Apps That Can Save Your Life This Summer

Mobile Safety Apps

Apart from pleasant new experiences, summer is also filled with danger. Fortunately, if you have a smartphone on you, you’re never alone. The same device that helps you find your way around Paris and waste your time watching videos of Shiba Inu, has the capacity to save your life too.

The combination of wireless connection, GPS, and camera, makes every smartphone a safety device that is available nearly to anyone. Whether you’re walking home alone at night, have concerns about the safety of your children, or perhaps you’ve just heard suspicious noise in your house—for each of these problems, there’s an app that helps you address it.

We bring you 5 safety apps that will help you stay safe this summer. In spite of their similarities, each of them is aimed at a different type of a user and deals with different problems.

Look at this smart safety apps

1. Drunk Mode — For those who love summer festivals.

Summer festivals and parties can quickly turn into stressful experiences if one of your friends goes M.I.A. Thanks to the app Drunk Mode and it’s feature “Find My Drunk” you’ll be able to find your friends as easily as they’ll find you.

All you have to do is to add your friends as your “Drinking Buddies” through Facebook, Twitter, or a text message, and you’re all set. Drunk Mode will track your location through GPS. Moreover, if you lose track of what was happening the night before, you can see a list of the places you went to last night.

Mobile Safety Apps: Drunk Mode

At the same time, Drunk Mode can also protect you from making drunk calls and texts you might regret in the morning. In doing so, not only it protects you from losing your friends but also your dignity.

In spite of Drunk Mode’s popularity at universities in the UK and US, it doesn’t run well on older Android devices. For this reason, some users complain about problems with the app’s stability.

In any case, Drunk Mode is definitely worth trying. If you love to go wild on summer festivals, you should have this app installed. Download it on Google Play.

Price: Free; Google Play Rating: 3.3 / 5

PROSCONS
+ Clearly focused on safety of drunk people– Unstable on older Android devices
+ Price– Unable to call from help directly from the app
+ Block drunk calling and texting– GPS is demanding on battery consumption

2. Sygic Family Locator — For families with children.

Similarly to Drunk Mode, Sygic Family also allows you to share you location with your close ones. As its name suggests, however, it focuses mainly on safety of families with children.

You begin by adding your close ones into Circles. As soon as they accept your invitation, you can begin to track their location on a map. The app will automatically notify you whenever they leave or arrive to places you consider safe (work, school, hotel). It will also tell you whenever your child comes to a place you deem unsafe. Instead of spamming your family with messages “Are you okay?”, you can discretely check it directly in the app.

Mobile Safety Apps Sygic Family

Sygic Family also allows you to set up when and with whom do you want to share your location. In case of an emergency, you can notify your contacts so they can come to your rescue. Finally, if you lose your device, Sygic will help you find it.

The app doesn’t offer a wide range of advanced security features. However, what it sets out to do, it does well. It was not by an accident that Sygic has become huge in the car navigation market.

For some, it might be problematic how this app handles privacy. The members of your group can see where you are every time you turn on the tracking, not only in case of emergency. It’s definitely not a deal-breaker but still something to consider.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a simple and dependable tool that would allow you to track movements of your closest ones, look no further. Whether you want to use it during a normal day or on a holiday, Sygic Family Locator is an excellent choice.

Download it on Google Play.

Price: Free; Google Play Rating: 4.0 / 5

PROSCONS
+ Easy to use– Few advanced features
+ Reliable and accurate– Lack of privacy settings
+ Price– Active GPS drains your battery

3. Companion

Companion wants to be your friend for a rainy day. Although it’s popular mainly at American university campuses, it’s perfectly usable in any other part of the world.

Similarly to other app on this list, you begin by adding contacts of people who’ll be your “companions”. They don’t even need to have the app installed. After that, all you have to do is to enter your destination and you’re ready to go.

Mobile Safety Apps Companion

If you don’t arrive to your destination on time, begin to run, someone yanks your headphones off, or your phone falls on the ground, Companion will ask you if you’re all right. Then you have 15 seconds to reply. If you don’t the app will automatically notify your companions that you might be in danger. You can also send the notification yourself or call 911 with a single tap directly from the app.

Similarly to the previous solutions, Companion is not without a fault. When we were testing it, the app would sometimes finish tracking before we could enter the building, leaving there a window for an attacker to act. Also, some features are only available in the US and people from other parts of the world cannot take advantage of them.

In most cases, however, Companion fulfils it’s purpose reliably and is certainly worth consideration. No other security app does offer so many ways of initiating a call for help. Download it on Google Play.

Price: Free;  Google Play Rating: 3.1 / 5

PROSCONS
+ Advanced activation features (running, fall, etc.)– Sometimes finishes tracking prematurely
+ Calls for help even if your phones gets stolen– Some features unavailable outside the US
+ Price– Active GPS drains your battery

4. Kitestring

Instead of the complexity of the previous solutions, Kitestring offers minimalistic simplicity. It doesn’t require GPS, internet connection, not even a smartphone. Kitestring functions exclusively as an SMS service. 

All you need to do is to enter your phone number at kitestring.io. This is also where you can add emergency contacts as well as modify the contents of the notification they will receive. When you’re done, all you have to do is to send a text message with the number of minutes in which Kitestring should check on you. Once the time runs out, Kitestring will send you a text message. If you don’t reply within 5 minutes, your contact will receive the emergency notification. This is why the service will issue a call for help even if you run out of battery or lose your phone.

Mobile Safety Apps: Kitestring

The man downside of this solution is that it cannot call for help immediately. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, Kitestring will only call for help after the timer runs out. Even then, however, your contacts won’t receive your GPS location. Unfortunately, this is the consequence of the service’s strict minimalist design.

In spite of its shortcomings, Kitestring has a lot to offer. Since it doesn’t drain your battery and doesn’t require an internet connection, it’s a perfect back-up solution. We especially recommend it in combination with some of the full-fledged safety apps.

Price: Free / SMS fee Google Play Rating: N/A

PROSCONS
+ Doesn’t require smartphone or internet connection– Minimalism
+ Doesn’t drain your battery– Cannot call for help immediately
+ Price– Doesn’t track your location

5. BeeSafe 

BeeSafe is a well-balanced mobile safety app that is ideal for lonely walkers who also prize their privacy.

Similarly to Companion, all you have to do is download BeeSafe, sign up, and set up your emergency contacts. Before every trip, you set up a timer and you’re ready go. Shortly before the timer is about to run out, the app will prompt you to reset it. If you don’t, your emergency contacts will receive an emergency notification together with your present location.

Mobile Safety Apps: BeeSafe

Just like Kitestring and Companion, BeeSafe can issue a cal for help even if you cannot call for it yourself. However, BeeSafe also wants to preserve your privacy, as it only relays your current location in the case of emergency. Unlike other solutions, BeeSafe also never stops tracking your position prematurely but only once you turn the tracking off. Finally, if you own a Flic button, you don’t even have to take the phone out of your pocket.

For some, the main disadvantage of BeeSafe might be its price, since the company recently switched to a paid model. Moreover, it doesn’t offer as many methods of activation as, let’s say, Companion.

In the end, however, BeeSafe offers a great compromise between the simplicity of use and reliability. Moreover, if you don’t want to trade your privacy for safety, BeeSafe is exactly what you’re looking for. Download it on Google Play.

Price: $2;   Google Play Rating: 4.0 / 5

PROSCONS
+ Privacy– Price
+ Flic hands-free support– Not as many activation methods
+ Simple to use– Active GPS drains your battery

download beesafe

BeeSafe Is Helping the Elderly Stay Active and Self-Reliant Longer

 

Last week, we were happy to introduce BeeSafe to the biggest retirement home in Slovakia. This home for the elderly in the north of the country hosts more than 320 tenants of all social backgrounds and medical conditions. We’ve met with its managers to discuss the details of implementing BeeSafe there and the results couldn’t be more encouraging.

Needless to say, we’re super excited to be breaking these new grounds. It’s incredibly satisfying to see our solution empowering and increasing the quality of life of the elderly.

beesafe for the elderly

Safety apps like BeeSafe reduce older people’s fear of crime.

According to statistics, older people, women in particular, are most likely to be worried about crime and personal safety. More than 30% of women over 60 say they feel “very unsafe” walking alone in the dark compared to only 14% of women under 29. The same trend can be observed among men as well, it’s just not as protrusive.

Moreover, it’s not just crime that is feared. We mustn’t forget about other anti-social behaviour which is often equally threatening and frightening.

Yet, the elderly remain the least likely group to be the victims of crime. Sure, one reason is that older people take more precautions to avoid potential danger. Unfortunately, that usually also means they simply stay at home because they’re too afraid to go outside.

In the end, we see a discrepancy between actual safety and its perception. This is where safety apps like BeeSafe can help alleviate much of the exaggerated fear among the elderly.

beesafe for the elderly

How can retirement homes benefit from using a safety app?

When you allow people feel safe, you empower them and significantly increase their quality of life. This is doubly true in the case of traditionally vulnerable groups such as older people.

As we have discovered during our dealings with the retirement home in Slovakia, crime or anti-social behaviour were often the least of their worries. After all, the area is a really safe place to live. Instead, they want to find new ways to enable their clients to remain self-sufficient and engaged in spite of their age.

Many among the elderly don’t want to isolate themselves behind the walls of their retirement home. However, they’re often too afraid to leave the premises and go to the city. Too many times it has happened to them that they became disorientated and unable to find their way back home. 

BeeSafe is giving these people an easy way to contact the social workers who can quickly help them find their way back home. All of this with a single push of a button, since ease-of-use is paramount in this scenario.

beesafe for the elderly

BeeSafe is helping the elderly stay active and self-reliant longer.

In the end, the best thing about our work with the retirement home in Žilina is the human aspect of it.

It’s inspiring to see this incredibly lively bunch of 60+ year olds still working and doing crafts every day. Or an 80 years old tech-savvy lady who loves to spend hours with Photoshop, pranking her friends on Facebook. Some of them have even found love among their co-habitants.

In the end, their lively enthusiasm about BeeSafe and the new possibilities it brings surprised even ourselves.

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How I Almost Died While Backpacking in Bolivia and Found Out Why Institutions Like OSHA Really Exist

feeling safe vs being safe

 

Have you ever heard about the Darwin Awards? Every year, they award people who died in the dumbest ways you can imagine. At the same time they are a testimony to the fact that being safe and feeling safe are two quite unrelated things. I remember the day when I genuinely thought I was about to become a laureate of this prestigious award.

During that time, we did many things others would consider dangerous. We lived in rainforest for a while, went fishing on a raft we had built ourselves, and hitchhiked all across Patagonia. Yet, the only time I feared for my life was when we finally came to La Paz, Bolivia.

Being Safe vs. Feeling Safe: Arrival at La Paz

It was one scary cab ride. Compared to other things we did, this should have been a uneventful transfer to hotel. And objectively, it really was. There was absolutely no risk to our lives or well-being.

But then again, maybe we shouldn’t have talked to that old woman on the bus. In less than an hour, she told us everything about fake taxi drivers in La Paz. How they lure you into their car with a confidence trick, rob you, and then leave you in the outskirts of the city at night.

After a quick google search, the danger seemed very real to us. Even more so once the bus finally arrived at the terminal and no one was leaving. They were all waiting for the sunrise. “It must really be too dangerous outside even for the locals,” we thought. What must they be doing to poor tourists like ourselves? We didn’t dare to move either.

Being Safe vs. Feeling Safe: The Deaf Taxi Driver

At the break of dawn, we finally mustered enough courage and began to look for a safe cab. We knew that real taxis had to have a phone number printed on them, glowing sign on the roof, and a voice radio inside.

We rejected several of the taxi drivers who swarmed us at the entrance. Instead, we took a cab that was parked next to a police officer. By the way, did you know that La Paz is also famous for its fake policemen? Well, we did but hoped for the best.

The cab driver made us write down the address of our hotel for him, which was weird but I thought it was due to our accent. Then I noticed he didn’t have a radio inside. Only fake taxis don’t have a radio! But it was too late for thinking about that, the car had already begun to move.

Crutching my phone in hand, I was following our location on Google Maps. So far so good. Then suddenly, the car turned into a narrow dark alley, my battery died and I started screaming “No, no, no, no, señor!”

Do you remember how the driver wanted me to write down the address of our hotel? Well, he was almost completely deaf, which is why he paid no attention to my screams. Moreover, a deaf taxi driver has no use for a radio.

Being Safe vs. Feeling Safe: My Hysterical Outburst

None of this occurred to me at that moment. I was too busy being petrified by a bin lorry that just blocked the street.

Do you know those scenes from Hollywood movies? You know, the ones where a truck blocks a street while a group of gangsters pulls passengers out of their car. Well, that’s exactly what was going through my head at that very moment. I was certain we were about to get abducted, robbed, raped, and killed off in the end.

Fortunately, this story is somewhat anti-climactic. The taxi driver was a lovely guy who took us exactly where we wanted to. Nothing bad happened to us and La Paz is probably much safer than we were led to believe.

Still, I felt the danger was very real. For some time, I believed it was simply because I’m a wuss. But what if it had little to do with me being a chicken? What if my hysterical reaction can tell us something essential about how humans experience danger?

being safe vs feeling safe

Being save vs. Feeling Safe: Security Is a Trade-Off

Human beings, including me, seem to be hopelessly bad at identifying dangerous situations. Just skim through the Darwin Awards Facebook page.

Immediately, you’ll find a story of a man who got trampled to death by an angry elephant while trying to make a selfie with him. Or story of a college graduate who fell into a spring of boiling acidic water as he was reaching down to check if the water temperature.

Most of these deaths have a lot do with the fact that humans are terrible at making the right security trade-offs. And when you think about it, security is always a trade-off. It comes at a price of convenience, money, time, liberties, and so on.

For instance, you trade the inconvenience of having to carry a key around in your pocket for some additional home security. Similarly, you trade the liberty of making up-close selfies with animals against the security from being trampled to death by an elephant. But you can also do the opposite and trade the security of staying at home against the liberty of hitchhiking across South america.

In my case, it worked out. I made the right security trade-offs. On the other hand, people who received the Darwin Award made a terrible trade-off and now they’re…well, dead.

being safe vs feeling safe

Being Safe vs. Feeling Safe: Cognitive Biases

It’s surprisingly difficult to make correct security trade-offs consistently. Humans are, above all, prone to all kinds of cognitive biases. Selecting only few among many:

  • Most people are less afraid of risks that are natural than those that are human-made.
  • Most people are less afraid of a risk they choose to take rather than a risk imposed on them.
  • Most people are less afraid of a risk they feel they have some control over.
  • Most people are more afraid of risks that we are more aware of and less afraid of risks they are less aware of.

You can probably already trace these biases across my story.

  • While backpacking, I was never afraid to take risks inherently present in nature. The first time I really feared for my life was when I encountered a human-made danger.
  • I felt much better when I was able to reject the taxi drivers who approached me first. Instead, I picked one who allowed me to choose freely.
  • I started panicking once I was completely at mercy of our driver. The moment my phone died, I lost even the last bit of control over the situation.
  • Everything would have probably been fine if the old lady on the bus didn’t tell us all the scary stories. I was overly aware of the risk.

Being Safe vs. Feeling Safe: Why Does OSHA Exist?

Human brain is a fascinating organ, but an absolute mess. Since assessing and reacting to risk is one of the most important things a living creature has to deal with, there’a very primitive part of the brain that deals just with that. However, this primitive part of the brain only works consistently well when faced with the most immediate and obvious threats.

We know the world is more complicated than that. Some scary things are not as dangerous as they seem, others are not scary at all but will kill you just as surely. Moreover, often it can be useful to stay in a dangerous situation and a work out a more sophisticated analysis of the situation.

At the core of the problem lies the facts that we humans have two ways of reacting to risk. First, a primitive system which reacts intuitively. Second, we have the ability of analytical reasoning. However, these two operate in parallel and it’s hard for reason to counter our instincts.

Once you see it this way, even insanely boring jobs like “health and safety inspector” suddenly seem interesting! They’re are fighting an almost existential battle against human nature itself!

If you’re wondering about those cute animated gifs in the article, they come from a song called “Dumb Ways to Die”. You can listen to it here