Companion App lets users get a virtual walk home from trusted fr - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Companion App lets users get a virtual walk home from trusted friend, family member

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Parents: how often do you worry about your kids walking alone at nighttime? A new smartphone app has a lot of people talking because it's set up to help users walk home safely, even if they're by themselves.

It's called Companion App. Users can request a trusted friend or family member to track their walk home virtually from point a-to-b. It uses GPS tracking on both phones so that the companion knows exactly where the user is.

Say a female college student is walking home alone across campus, and her father is tracking her. If she doesn't feel safe in her surroundings, she can press a button to her father know, and he will get an immediate alert. The student can also choose to call police right away.

If the student gets off the path she said she would be walking, or she trips, falls, is pushed, starts running or her headphones are yanked out of her phone, the app will ask if she's okay. If it was an accident, she will tap the button saying so. If the "I'm Okay" button isn't pressed within 15 seconds, the phone turns into an alarm. The goal is to scare criminals from around her. All the while her trusted companion is tracking and knows her exact location.

It was created by college students from the University of Michigan. Coastal Carolina University students say an app like Companion App is helpful for their peace of mind, and for their parent's.

"I've walked the whole campus at like 8 o clock at night by myself," CCU Freshman Tanner Craig said. "So, but I get uneasy"

"It doesn't necessarily make it less likely for you to get hurt, but it just gives you more confidence to walk alone," CCU Freshman Austen Schindler explained..

"Just knowing that I am able to have somebody look out for me if something happens. Just knowing that in the back of my head," Craig said.

When the user arrives at their destination safely, their companion is alerted.

"You always keep your phone on you so you'll always have someone there," according to CCU Freshman Malcolm Albino. "Like you said they're not physically there, but you'll still be able to alert them and you'll still be able to get help."

The Companion app is free and it's available for both iPhone and Android users.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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