Safety is now a new utility for your smartphone with the new uSafeNH app. According to the description on the iTunes store, the app “provides survivors, parents, family members, faculty, staff, prospective students and off-campus community members at New Hampshire colleges with instant access to localized information to support survivors of sexual assault.”
The app boasts several features such as sexual assault FAQs, local resources and a more innovative feature, the “Expect Me” function, which has the user enter a contact’s phone number and sets a timer to dial the number. If a unique contact isn’t inputted, the app dials 911 by default.
But don’t students already do this without the use of an app? Not in every case it seems, according to one KSC first-year who wished to not be named. He said, “I don’t usually say when I’ll be back, I will just let my roommate know I’ll be gone just because.” After being presented with information about the app, the student said he didn’t plan on using it after its launch, citing he couldn’t trust himself to reset the alarm. When asked to elaborate on that statement, the student explained that if he is intoxicated, he wouldn’t want the police to follow the beacon to find him.
Others are more optimistic about the popularity of the app, such as Junior Casey Sault, who had already downloaded the app before its official launch Thursday at KSC’s Campus Crime and Fire Safety Awareness Fair.
“[uSafeNH] is for students on-campus to get [sexual assault] services they need, especially if they’re uncomfortable with one on-one-interaction.” she said. Sault, along with other members of Mentors in Violence Prevention, had teamed up with Campus Safety to promote sexual assault awareness at the Fair. “It’s a way to promote healthy sex on campus.” she said while handing out safe sex kits at MVP’s table.
The app might have to compete against an already established local competitor, however Wednesday, local Keene activist Ian Freeman was handing out fliers for a similar app called Cell411.
“Cell411 is really cool because it decentralizes emergency response…so rather than call 911 and wait and hope that they arrive somewhere on time…Cell411 allows you to alert just your friends to something that is going wrong,” he explained. The app is already established in Keene with several dozen users, including a Keene State cell, which alerts all the users of the app in that specific private cell. The app also allows users to differentiate what kind of emergency they are experiencing, ranging from house fires to traffic accidents, even to police harassment, while uSafeNH is exclusively served for sexual assault.
It’s that specialization, however, that gives the uSafeNH app a degree of unique importance. Any app (or phone for that matter) can get help or contact emergency authorities for a victim, but uSafeNH is different as it gives the victim resources to understand and cope with the situation in a confidential way, Sault concluded.
uSafeNH is available for download for both Samsung and iPhone devices.
Vincent Moore can be contacted at email@example.com