Does Watcher actually keep me safe?
Our goal is for you and your “watchers” to give each other peace of mind that you are connected when you make trips alone after dark. Watcher does more than just track your route - it detects when things seem to be going wrong, like you suddenly start running or go off your path, and automatically alerts your watchers if you are not responding to warnings from the app. Watcher ensures that if, in the rare case, something bad does happen - your watchers will be aware and know where to find you. You will never disappear without a trace.
Of course, it is important you stay alert when making trips alone.
What do I need to do as someone's watcher?
If you accept to be someone’s watcher, what you do if you receive an alert is up to you. You can start with a simple phone call or message to check in, and decide what actions might be necessary after that. As a watcher, you will have access to the “watchee’s” whereabouts for as long as the trip lasts, and, in the case of a serious situation, will be able to provide information to officials.
When should I use Watcher?
The most effective way to use Watcher is simply to turn it on every time you are making trips alone after dark. This could be coming home from a social event, work, or when you’re in an area you don’t know. Some also use Watcher when they are riding alone in a taxi.
How does Watcher detect potential emergencies?
When you use Watcher to make a trip, the app keeps a subtle eye on you to make sure you get where you are going safely. If something unusual happens on the way, we will first trigger a warning (your phone plays a sound and vibrates repeatedly, even in silent mode), and 30 seconds later we will alert your watchers if you do not respond. The triggers are:
Stopping for too long
Straying off course
Headphones yanked out
You can turn each of these triggers on and off within Settings. Watcher automatically turns itself off and notifies your watchers as soon as you arrive at your destination.
Does Watcher work if my watchers don't have the app installed?
Your watchers do not need to have the app installed, and you can choose anyone in your phone’s contact list to be a watcher. Watchers who do not have the app installed will be notified by text message when you start a trip or if you activate the alarm. They will be routed to a web page where they can track your location on a live map. If they do have the app installed, this will all occur within the app.
What happens if my phone is destroyed or turned off while using Watcher?
The alarm is activated from the phone, so it will only work if the phone is online. If your phone is stolen, destroyed or turned off during a trip, Watcher will still have your trip details saved up to the point where the phone went offline. This means that your watchers will still be able to see your last known location.
Do I have to hold the phone in my hand for Watcher to work?
No, the emergency triggers (sudden running, straying off course, etc.) work in the background so you don't have to take out your phone to activate the alarm. While it is also possible to activate the alarm manually, this may be impractical or impossible to do if you are in an actual emergency. We designed Watcher to make sure you can keep your phone tucked away in your purse or pocket and still make use of the safety features.
What if I don't want to bother my watchers or wake them up?
If you don’t want to bother your watchers every time you start a trip, you can choose to make your trip private. This means that your watchers will only be alerted in the case of an emergency. However, it also means that they will not be asked to confirm that they are available to be your watcher, so there is no guarantee that they will be awake and prepared to react. If you activate the alarm during a private trip, your watchers will be alerted to your location immediately.
What if I alert my watchers by accident?
This is a big concern and something we are working on daily. We are working to make sure that the triggers are sensitive enough to be effective and that the warning is noticeable enough to prevent any false alarms going off. If you realize that you have triggered the alarm unintentionally, you can simply push the “I'm Safe” button and your watchers will be notified that you are safe.
Can people stalk me with this app?
No, definitely not! Your location and trip details will never be made public and only those you choose to be your watchers will have access to the information. You can even choose to make your trip private, so your watchers only get notified in the case of an emergency.
What if I don't feel unsafe personally, but I want to watch out for others (i.e. children or spouse)?
We are happy that you don't feel unsafe! Our goal is absolutely not to blow the risk of danger out of proportion, but to be there for you and those close to you in times when you feel you need it. You can think of Watcher as a little extra reassurance when your kids or spouse are coming home after dark or while you're not around.
The person making the actual trip must have the app installed. For you as a watcher, the experience is a bit smoother if you install the app too, though if you prefer to receive notifications and alerts by text message then that works fine as well.
Will Watcher be available for Android?
Yes! Rest assured that we are working hard to bring Watcher to the Google Play store so all you wonderful Android users can join our little community too. In the meantime, you can still be a watcher for someone who uses our iPhone app. Sign up here to get notified when we launch on Android.
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.