I got my first cell phone when I was taking night classes for my graduate degree at UBC. I felt uncomfortable walking across campus late at night, and I thought that getting a phone would help me feel safer. Realistically, if anything had happened, I’m not sure I would have had the wherewithal to fumble out my phone, flip it open, dial the number, wait for it to ring, and explain my location on campus. (This was of course before smartphones.)
Nowadays, we have better options! React Mobile is a free app that lets you turn your smartphone into a powerful safety device. The Follow Me function sends a message and link to your selected emergency contacts that lets them track your location in real-time when you’re concerned about your personal safety. This would be reassuring for situations like running or walking alone early in the morning or at night, meeting a blind date, or meeting up with a stranger to buy or sell something from Craigslist.
I downloaded this app on an old iPhone 3GS and on hubs’ Android Nexus 4 smartphone. Once you download the app, you register for an account through Facebook or via your email. Between the two, I prefer the iPhone UI – it’s sleeker and just seems to work better. I noticed that when I went to register on the Nexus, the vertical space in the input boxes was too small to see all the text properly. I also had an issue turning off the Follow Me function on the Nexus, which I’m assuming is because the OS was just updated to Android 4.4 Kit Kat. There were no issues that I could see with the iPhone.
Once you’ve registered for an account, you add your emergency contacts manually or from your contact list. There’s also a settings option to post to Twitter or Facebook, but I don’t know when I would ever do that. And that’s it for set up. You’re ready to go! When you find yourself in a situation where you want a little extra security, just tap the “Follow Me” button. Select a time limit (30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours) and move the slider to ON.
Olivia is concerned for their safety and would like you to follow them in real-time until they are safe: http:/bit.ly/*******
Your contacts don’t have to have the app in order to follow you or receive an SOS alert. They’ll receive your text and/or your email with a link that will take them to your Live View page on React Mobile’s site where they can track you via your phone’s GPS in real-time.
When you’ve arrived safely at your destination (or you decide your date isn’t an axe murderer), turn the tracking off manually by touching the “I’m Safe” button. This will send a new text/email to your contacts.
I’m safe and no longer in need of assistance. Thank you for being my emergency contact. Learn more about this service at: www.reactmobile.com
If your date is an axe murderer, right in the middle of the screen is the SOS shield that will send out a silent alert via text and email to your pre-selected contacts with a link to your current GPS location.
This is a React Mobile SOS alert from Olivia. I need help now! My location is: http://bit.ly/******
Once you tap the SOS shield, the app automatically prompts you to dial 911 (or whatever your local emergency number is).
I can see this being really helpful for other emergency situations too, like a car accident or a medical emergency. If you have a health issue like epilepsy, diabetes, or severe allergies consider downloading this app as a true lifeline.
The best part? It’s completely free!
Disclosure: Compensation for this post was provided by React Mobile. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own. Your experience may differ.