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Text based service makes sure users get home safe

Thursday - 4/24/2014, 4:42pm  ET

WASHINGTON -- Instead of calling up a friend or family member while you're walking home alone at night, a new web-based service can check-up on you automatically.

Kitestring is a program that makes sure users get from their starting point to ending point safely.

By signing up with your full name and phone number on the website, you can start a trip, telling Kitestring when you are leaving, along with the expected duration of your trip.

After the allotted amount of time, Kitestring will send you a text checking your status. If you don't respond, the program will send an alert to your emergency contacts with a custom message you can set.

If you're taking longer than expected or make a stop somewhere, it's easy to push back the check-in time by texting Kitestring the additional amount of time you want to add.

On the other hand, if you arrive early, you can text "OK" to inform the service you arrived safely.

In order to ensure that only you can check-in with the program and not an attacker, Kitestring allows you to set a secret check-in word. That way if someone tries to check in but uses the wrong word, an alert will be sent out as normal.

You can also set a "duress code" so if you encounter danger, the program instantly alerts your emergency contacts in a discrete way.

The Kitestring application isn't downloaded. The web-based service can be used on any deice with web browsing capabilities. This allows it to be used on many different phones.

While there are other programs that work to keep people safe when walking alone, Kitestring is unique in that it doesn't need any specific action in order to alert your emergency contacts. Rather, it will alert them when there is a lack of action. This is useful in case something happens where you are unable to access your phone to send the alert.

h/t Elle

Marissa Paiano, special to wtop.com, contributed to this report.

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