This month, millions of young men and women will head off to college, many for the first time.
While parents around the country rejoice in their children's achievements, they also know academics often go hand-in-hand with all-nighters, partying, drinking and lots of potentially-sketchy situations.
Walking home late at night can be dangerous, especially for young women.
With that fear in mind, five students from the University of Michigan created an app called Companion. It allows users to virtually invite friends or family members to keep them company on their journeys home.
Via a GPS tracker on an online map, your parent, sibling or friend can “join” you on your walk home without ever leaving his or hers.
The Companion app — currently being used by tens of thousands of people around the world — sends an invite request via SMS to the companion's phone and notifies him or her if the user strays off the path, falls, is pushed or starts running.
The app alerts the user and prompts him or her to press a button signaling he or she is OK.
If the user does not respond within 15 seconds, Companion turns into an alarm, spewing out loud noises to scare away criminals.
Lexie Ernst, the cofounder of the Companion app, told IBTimes UK the app has gotten great reviews across all ages and genders. She said,
Both men and women from all demographics have emailed us saying they'd love to use the app. Lots of parents want to use the app for their children, and some people want their elderly parents to use it, too, to make sure they don't get lost.
According to Business Insider, the app was created to aid students walking home at night.
For the campuses signed up to work with Companion, the app will also notify the user's university if she or he happens to call 911.
An app like this shouldn't have to be around, but I'm certainly glad it is.