“It’s 11 pm. Do you know where your children are?” If you’ve ever thought twice after hearing this pre-nightly news announcement, you can get some peace of mind thanks to a new app that uses GPS tracking to follow your kids step-by-step.
Companion was developed by students at the University of Michigan who had their own concerns about walking around campus late at night. A user inputs his or her destination along with the phone numbers of some trusted contacts, who receive a notification text. They can then open a browser and follow the traveler’s progress along the way.
If the app detects signs of potential danger, such as running or the phone hitting the ground, it triggers a beep to alert your contacts. There is also one-touch access to dial 911 along with a feature called “I Feel Nervous,” which alerts your contacts and public service officials that a particular area seems a bit sketchy. Police can increase their presence based on data accumulated from Companion users.
While Companion grew out of a perceived need for college students, it has applications for many others, especially families. The app is also extremely user-friendly, particularly compared to previous entries in the market. The biggest benefit is that friends and loved ones are not required to download the app in order to receive texts and track users.
A little bit of concern with the Companion has been the beeping feature, which could be triggered if the user begins running during an activity such as playing with kids which could result in a false alarm.
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