My freshman year, a police officer came to my dorm to talk to us about safety issues regarding alcohol and sexual violence. He told us a story about a girl from a few years earlier who had gotten drunk and tried to make her way home from a party. She encountered a stranger just outside of her dorm, who then assaulted her and left her unconscious on the sidewalk. It happened around 1 a.m., and she was alone, drunk, and defenseless.
Hearing that story, and knowing that there are thousands of others just like it, made me scared for my friends and sisters. If that girl had a way of alerting her friends that something was wrong, it might not have happened.
Kitestring is a new app that makes sure you aren’t alone. Instead of calling a friend and staying on the line while you get out of a sketchy situation, you can now use a device to check up on you–and it can possibly alert those who care about you if something goes wrong.
If you’re alone in a situation where you don’t feel safe, Kitestring will be your friend. You customize the app by selecting who you want to be your emergency contacts, and you type in their phone numbers. You tell the app that you’re somewhere dangerous or unfamiliar, and then you give it a specific amount of time for when you want to be checked up on. After however long you set it for, the app will text you and ask if you’re okay. If you don’t respond after a certain amount of time, the app will actually text your emergency contacts to let them know something is up. The message it sends your mom, friend, roommate, boyfriend, or whoever you want to check on you is something you customize when you open the app. The idea is that you have it send something like, “Hey, I walked back from a party tonight, but if you get this, I might be in some trouble. Could you give me a call?”
Kitestring isn’t the first app to help you get home safely, but it’s the best. Unlike other apps, you don’t have to actually get on your phone to signify that you’re in trouble. This is important, because it’s possible that, if you get caught in a bad situation, someone could take your phone. If you were to find yourself in a dangerous situation, it is very possible that you would have other priorities that take precedence over alerting your phone of what’s happening. Technically, Kitestring isn’t even an app, and that’s actually a good thing. It’s a web-based service, so it’s compatible with any phone that has an Internet browser.
Everyone is able to get the device, and everyone should. Especially in college, where stories of rape and assault are not uncommon, it’s nice to have a small sense of security. You’d want to know if a friend of yours was in danger, and vice versa. Kitestring is simply a way to make you feel protected, and it can go a long way in ensuring the safety of you and those you love.