New App Will Help Keep You Safe When You're Walking Home Alone

Illustration for article titled New App Will Help Keep You Safe When Youre Walking Home Alone

As much as I like to grumble about how women's movement is limited by a world that makes us afraid to walk alone at night — it's something I grumble about whenever my mom forwards me a chain email that's like, "IF YOU'RE LEAVING THE MALL GET INTO YOUR CAR THROUGH THE PASSENGER'S SEAT!!!" — the fact remains that walking alone at night, as a woman, can be terrifying.

That's why Kitestring, a new web app, is a welcome development. It works thusly: you set up a trip time online or via text, based on how long you think it will take you to reach your destination. When that time is up, Kitestring will send you a text; you can either respond "Ok" to announce that you're safe or extend your travel period (if you get there early, you can send a premature "Ok" as well). If you fail to respond, the app will send a text message to all of your pre-selected emergency contacts. Here's the default one:

Hey, this is [YOUR NAME]. I'm going out for a walk. If you get this, I might not have made it back safely. Give me a call? (I used to send this message.)


You can also choose a special password in place of "Ok," which is something the company recommends, as well as a duress code in order to "discreetly alert your emergency contacts."

If I were to use this regularly I think my friends would call the police at least twice a week because I often throw my phone aside with mindless glee in order to eat frozen cheese delicacies upon returning home. BUT for the more mindful, this technology is invaluable — anything that helps women feel more safe is obviously a great thing, and it could potentially save lives. It's also worth noting that the duress code could be used in other situations as well: if someone finds themselves in a situation with someone they know and feel unsafe around (like an abusive ex-partner, someone aggressive they left a party with, etc.), they could use that to silently call their friends for help.

If you'd like, you can sign up for Kitestring here — no smartphone required!

Image via LDProd/Shutterstock.

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Nothing to do with the app itself, but still relevant… if I'm walking alone at night, I'll stop at a deli and get a large hot tea. I figure scalding hot water would be a good weapon to fight off rapists and attackers.