Have you heard of Kitestring? I first heard about it when I went to dinner with a friend. She told me that she had gotten a text from her younger sister saying something along the lines of, “I’m okay, but I am trying out Kitestring. I just wanted to let you know.” My friend panicked a bit wondering if Kitestring was a new drug, or whether her sister was trying to do something dangerous with a kite (I’m thinking of you, Benjamin Franklin). It ends up Kitestring is neither.
I have been telling all of my friends about Kitestring. Kitestring is a web-based service that makes sure that you get home safely. If you’re like me you’ve been on a blind date or walked home too late at night. Luckily, I’ve always had roommates and friends that are looking out for me. My current roommate and I text one another before bed to check-in if one of us is still out. I did the same thing all throughout college. I also always tell someone where I am going and when I expect to be back. The problem is that this isn’t foolproof. You may be fine when your roommate goes to sleep but not okay later on in the night. Kitestring was invented by Stephan Boyer, a 23 year old MIT student, shortly after his girlfriend asked him to stay on the phone with her because she was walking in an unsafe neighborhood late at night. He realized that every form of alerting people in a crisis required the person to act – for example blowing a whistle, using Mace, or calling the police. According to the website, Kitestring is, “a safe call service” you start a trip on Kitestring by going on the site or text messaging the number and they will text you to make sure that you’re okay. You tell Kitestring when you expect to be home and they’ll text you at that time to make sure that you are okay. If you reply to the message or check in online within five minutes nothing happens. If you don’t check in they will alert a list of emergence contacts that you’ve programmed. You can extend your estimated time of arrival or check in early. Stephan really thought of everything, for example, you can set a secret check-in word so that someone can’t check-in for you. You can also type in duress to immediately send a message to all of your emergency contacts. I recommend that everyone set up an account.