Tech Tip: Protect yourself with Watch Over Me

As college students, we often take safety for granted, especially in familiar settings. Inspired by a real life story, an app called Watch Over Me ensures your safety no matter where you go, for those less than ideal moments (e.g. walking to your car late at night) through automated tracking.

Co-founder Xin-Ci Chin was inspired to create this app for urban women — but really anyone — because she was abducted by two men in Malaysia. This incident occurred during a Sunday afternoon in one of her favorite shopping towns. Luckily enough, Chin was able to unlock the car during the abduction and successfully managed to stumble out of the car while it was still moving. The scariest part of this unfortunate situation was that she did not have the luxury to get in contact with her loved ones easily. Often times, during an emergency, simply pulling out your phone to make a phone call seems like a difficult task, especially when you have to be discreet about what you are doing or else further endanger your safety.

Although many similar apps are currently out on the market, none compares to Watch Over Me because it does not require the individual in an emergency to log into their phone, find the emergency app, click on it and activate the emergency alert button. Depending on which version you get, Watch Over Me simply requires you to shake your phone to signal the alert if it is not appropriate for you to push the emergency button. In this way, the user-interface is really simple when your back is against the wall and there is no time to think, but just act.

The app does simple, yet very important things, though it requires internet access. You essentially tell the app what you are doing and provide an estimate of how long you think it will take you to accomplish the task. Then, within the timeframe, just check in and inform the system that you’ve made it to your safety spot. If you fail to notify the app however, an emergency alert will be sent to your emergency contact.

Watch Over Me is available for both iOS and Android-based smartphones. The free version features a 20-minute maximum event time, one emergency contact, and email and Facebook emergency messages only. The paid version ($3.33 a month or $23.99 for 12 months) features unlimited event duration, unlimited SMS alerts, emergency contacts, SMS, email and Facebook alerts and video recording when you shake your phone to trigger the alert.

This is a great tool for anyone who is concerned about their safety or just would like to have a peace of mind when they’re in questionable circumstances. No matter who you are, or where you are, a little safety precaution can go a long way.

— Jasbir Kaur

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