3 Apps That Can Help you Be Safer in College

Day after day, it seems that news outlets are reporting on tragedies from all over the world. No two stories are the same, but unfortunately, many sound far too similar. Perhaps it was a dead battery, an intoxicated mind or just forgetfulness that led to a parent having to report their child missing. While every case is uniquely different, there is one underlying constant in all of them — the pain experienced by friends and family the moment a loved one goes missing.

I’m sure we’re all tired of hearing our parents asking the same questions. Where are you going? Who are you going with? Who’s driving? Text me when you get home, okay? Even with hundreds of miles separating us from our parents, they still lay awake at night until they receive the call announcing you’ve made it home safely, possibly with good reason. Their most prized possessions are now out in the world experiencing all it has to offer, good and bad.

Our young eyes often see the world in a light that parents can no longer see. We view the world with hope, faith in humanity and optimism, but parents are able to see the darkness of it — the unfairness, mistakes and distrust. But why? We hear the same stories that our parents hear on the news, but often react unconcerned.

“That would never happen to me,” is often the mindset. You’re right, it’ll never happen to you — until it does to you or a loved one.

According to data released by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, more than 600,000 people were reported missing in the United States in 2013. Despite popular misconceptions, more than half of those reported missing were over the age of 18. So one starts to wonder, are some of these cases preventable? We’ll never be sure.

However, with new advances in technology, we now have the opportunity to try to decrease this number. Today there are phone applications for just about everything, and the next three could be the dividend between a tragedy and a catastrophe.

1. Glympse
This app is pure genius. It’s designed around the simple concept of tracking at a glance. It allows the user to decide who you want to see your GPS location and for how long they can track you. The setup of this app allows location sharing to end once the time interval is up, but it’s possible to manually stop or continue the tracking. Going to Coachella? This app is a must. It’s a great way to keep temporary tabs on each other and your campsite locations. To make it even better, it allows you to share real-time locations and estimated time of arrival through text, email or social networks.

2. Life360-Family Locator
This app is extremely unique. One of the best features of this app? It has a built-in “panic” option that sends out an emergency signal to designated emails and phone numbers with your exact location of your GPS coordinates in case of an emergency. You also get to choose two predefined locations such as work and school, and every time you enter such a location, a family member is notified. (No phone calls? Free at last!) This app is completely free for Android and iPhone users alike. Want more? For just $5 a month, you can get a pro version of this app that provides unlimited amount of check-ins at places as well as roadside assistance.

3. Find My Friends
Find My Friends takes the confusion out of things by using Google Maps, which is fairly easy to interpret. The coolest function about this app? It can be used to coordinate your trip with others even before getting in the car. It also automatically lists the nearest police stations, fire departments and hospitals near you.

Perhaps Elizabeth Luebke from Wisconsin would still be here today if she would have had a panic button after she angrily left a party on a cold January morning. Luebke collapsed and froze to death after her friends got intoxicated and assumed she had somebody pick her up. Maybe 13-year-old Nicole Lovell would still be alive today if she was able to share her location before being brutally murdered earlier this year.

It’s important to note that a parent isn’t the only person you could check in with — friends are a great alternative. With friends, the shame that goes along with being at McDonald’s at 5 a.m. after a long night out goes out the window.

The message is simple: Let somebody know where you are before it’s too late.

Photo Credit: www.cc.com.mt