This Virtual Bodyguard Can Help You Get Home Safe
Life + Money

This Virtual Bodyguard Can Help You Get Home Safe

With reports of sexual assault on the rise, a new service is trying to add another layer of safety and protection to late nights out for the women.

Whether you’re out partying or on a date with someone you recently met – or just  taking a late-night stroll before bedtime – you can set Kitestring to send you text messages. The messages will “make sure” you’re OK and will alert your friends or family if you don’t reply within a certain time frame.

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“Ask Kitestring to check up on you at some future time, and Kitestring will text you to make sure you’re safe,” according to the company’s website. “Reply to the message or check in on the website and all is well. If you don’t check in, Kitestring alerts the emergency contacts that you set up ahead of time.”

The free app is a sort of virtual overprotective mom. While it’s intended, however, to increase your sense of safety at a time when reports of sexual assaults, especially on college campuses, are becoming more common, keep in mind that an app will never replace personal vigilance when going out late at night.

Reports of sexual assaults have increased in recent years. On New England college campuses, for example, forcible sex offenses have climbed 40 percent overall between 2012 and 2013.

Kitestring can be of use in other instances as well. Some realtors, for example, find it useful when showing empty, isolated houses to potential buyers. Also, people with medical conditions who need to be checked on regularly are good potential users.

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Kitestring is text-message based, so it accommodates those without smartphones.  

The free version gives you eight “trips,” or passes, to use Kitestring and allows you to set one emergency contact. You can upgrade to a paid version, which for $3 a month grants you unlimited use of the app and the ability to set an unlimited number of emergency contacts.

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