New app creating a buzz on FAU's campus - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

New app creating a buzz on FAU's campus

Never feel insecure walking alone at night again! A new free app puts the latest form of protection in the palm of your hands.

Parents and college students across the nation are downloading the Companion App.

“I think it’s gonna create a whole new level of feeling safer on campus,” says Florida Atlantic University graduate student Ella Tepper.

Created by college students for college students, it’s is like having a friend walk with you, only they're not at your side. Instead they're on their own cell phone watching your every move.

“I think what makes it different is if you don't respond it checks in and tells the friend or people you've selected that you need check in on,” says FAU student body president Kathryn Edmunds. 

She saw this simple app explode on Facebook where it was shared hundreds of times. Now, she can't go anywhere without it, especially late at night when she leaves the library.

“We can't always be there for every person so this really allows you, the people you connect with the most, to have some sense of accountability and peace and knowledge of that,” says Edmunds.

When you start the app you select certain people as your companion. They link up with you via a map that you create to show exactly where you will walk to and from locations. Once in motion the app's features become lifesaving.

At any time during your walk you can hit a tab “I feel nervous” or you can “call police” but let's say you can't do that. If you fall, start running or let’s say your headphones pull out accidentally. A signal is sent directly to your companion notifying them you're in danger and they in turn can call police immediately. They have your exact GPS location of where you are.

“If nothing else it’s causing some awareness on the students part to watch out for their security,” said WPTV Computer Security Expert Alan Crowetz of Infostream Inc.

Crowetz has fielded dozens of calls in recent weeks from worried parents losing sleep fearing they can’t help protect their kids.

“Everything else is fixable, but security, you got to stay on top of that,” says Crowetz.

At a time when security is at an all-time high, this could be the connection your student needs to keep them safer.

“There's always that possibility to feel vulnerable even with as much safety as we have in place, you never know what can happen,” says Tepper.

The app features an alarm to deter criminals and an automatic signal can be sent to participating university police departments.

The Companion App is free and can be downloaded for Android and iPhones.

Copyright 2015 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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