By Kyra Louie, Staff Writer
“Text me when you get home,” is a phrase that we often give and receive when we part with friends and family at the end of a night. I’ve used it, you’ve used it, everyone’s used it. But most people forget to follow up once they do actually get home safely.
With the SMS app Kitestring, this will no longer be a problem. Kitestring is a free web-based “safecall service” that allows its user to send automated text messages to themselves and their emergency contacts.
When Kitestring is used, it allows the user to punch in their destination and how long their trip will take (30 minutes, 2 hours, etc.). If the user does not return home by the time previously estimated, they can ask for extra time. If the user does not respond to the checkup text within a few minutes, Kitestring sends out a custom-made text to your assigned emergency contacts to let them know that something might have happened.
New feature! You can now specify a custom duress message (in addition to the regular alert message). pic.twitter.com/N6hMgLz3Vp
— Kitestring (@getkitestring) April 21, 2014
The user can set up their own personal check-in-word, so that if an attacker has struck, they cannot check-in for the user. There is also a duress code, which is used in case the user is actually in trouble. If the duress code is sent as a reply to the check-in text, the app pretends like the user checked in, but actually alerts the emergency contacts that they might be in danger.
As beautiful as this app sounds, it’s not perfect. If the user’s phone dies, and they miss the check-in text, the distress text will be sent to their emergency contacts. Also, there will obviously be times the user does not remember to reply to the check-in text, or ask for more time, which will result in another text sent to their emergency contacts (followed by unnecessary panic).
Depending on the situation, I get very frustrated when my friends don’t text me that they got home safely. For all I know, something could have happened and I would be devastated to learn that something did happen and I thought it to be forgetfulness.
Even so, it’s a really practical app. It could save someone’s life, and it is worth investing in. Kitestring is a free app, so, as far as I can tell, there isn’t really any reason not to give it a try.