Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Women use mobile apps to ensure safety

How Indian women are using mobile apps to ensure safety
With the gruesome Delhi gang-rape fresh in their minds, girls and women are using mobile apps to ensure their own safety and let family and friends know their location.

Many women, armed with the latest smartphones, have  downloaded free apps that provide location services to family and friends at the click of a few buttons or touch-screen manoeuvres.

Sakshi Munjal, a university student in Chandigarh, told  IANS: "With the help of smartphones, security for women is just a click away. Whenever I am out somewhere, I keep updating and sharing my locations with applications like Latitude and Facebook."

"With crime against women increasing, they should be self-sufficient to deal with the troublesome situations. Women travelling by  themselves need to take some extra precautions. This extra precaution is taken care of by downloading various applications on these smartphones," she  added.

A whole range of mobile apps are now available and can be downloaded for women to provide their location to someone known.

Among the apps, Life360 is a family locator which connects all the family members, allowing them to communicate instantly and track the GPS location of any family member in real time. It also helps in sending panic alerts via text, email and phone call if help is needed urgently.

Akanksha Khandelwal, a student in a women's college  here, told IANS: "I have installed Life360 application on my phone so that  whenever I am out of my house, my family and friends have a clear idea about my  location. In case of any trouble, I just need to send an SMS to seek help at my  location."

The Fightback India-specific application is being used a lot by women. One needs to login via Facebook to download the application.

Fightback utilizes the smartphone's GPRS, SMS, GPS, maps, email and linked Facebook account to send SOS messages when needed. With a  single tap, women can send SOS emergency SMS messages and emails to select  friends in their list. The application also updates the Facebook status page with  emergency messages and current location to inform the user's Facebook network.

Swati Sahni, a B.Ed. student here, said: "I always take a video of surroundings and any potential threats. I share it with friends and family using leading social networking sites or email and generally keep some family member on call to update them of my location. I always keep my  father's number on immediate calling so that I am saved from wasting time in case of trouble."

Another application helps to add six friends who will be informed in times of need or crisis. It sends an SMS to friends with the GPS location and a message. Other apps offer GPS location and realtime alerts.

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