App encourages safety

App encourages safety

The Companion app was designed to make students feel safer on campus.  CW | Amy Sullivan

Phone apps aren’t just for updating your Facebook status and uploading your lunch to Instagram. Developers are working on apps designed especially to keep college students safe on and off campus. Companion app is doing just that.

Developed by five college students who felt the need for such an app, the goal is to help students feel safer in their college environment.

Lexie Ernst, co-owner of the app, explained how it works.

“Using the app is very easy," Ernst said. "All a user has to do is input their destination, add a few 'Companions' from their contact list and the app handles the rest. If a user goes off route, doesn't make it to their destination on time, falls, starts running or has their headphones yanked out, Companion checks in to make sure the user is OK. If a user does not respond that they are OK within 15 seconds, the contacts they selected are notified to check in on them."

According to the website, http://companionapp.io/, friends or family don't have to download the app to be your "Companions." The website says these companions are able to track students as they travel to their destination.

Ernst added that app has additional features as well.

“There is also an 'I Feel Nervous' button that allows a user to manually alert their contacts that they are feeling unsafe, and we hope to use this data to work with public safety departments in order to make certain areas more secure for the future," she said. "Users also have the ability to directly contact the police from within the app with a 'Call Police' button.”

Ernst said the app is available on the Google Play store and the Apple app store and they are working on an iWatch app that will include a heart rate monitor.

“We've received such an amazing response from our local communities and the global community at large," she said. "The overwhelmingly positive response that we've gotten regarding our work has reaffirmed the fact that personal safety is an important and relevant issue for all demographics that needs to be addressed.”

The app can be downloaded by searching “Companion” in the app store or by visiting their website: http://companionapp.io/

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