Keeping you safe online..... and off

This week sees the launch of two very different products – one designed to keep you safe via your smartphone, the other is aimed at helping parents understand the slang used online by their teenagers.

A new App from development company Companion is designed to give you a “virtual” companion on your way home. We have all been in the situation where we have left our friends to walk a short way home, or to take a taxi. How many of us have called a friend en route so we can talk to them whilst we walk?

The App is used with anyone in your contacts – even if they do not use the App themselves. You input your starting point and destination and the software will periodically ask you “are you OK?”. If you do not press the big green “yes” button within 15 seconds it will contact the designated companion from your contacts. Simple? Yes, but a great way to make anyone feel safer and offer peace of mind.

Also launched this week is an initiative from the UK Government which is designed to help parents understand social media acronyms. The idea behind it is to make sure that parents are aware of the type of “conversations” that their teenagers might be having in chat rooms – and to help them recognise potential dangers such as cyber-bullying and disclosure of personal details to strangers on the Internet.

The dictionary covers a wide range of terms that may not be familiar to the older generation but are seen to be used by teenagers. The online service is part of Parent Info, launched by the Department of Education and draws attention to acronyms like LMIRL (let's meet in real life) which is perfectly acceptable to use with friends but not strangers.

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