With the advent of technology and apps, we enjoy convenience, efficiency and connectedness like never before. We can swipe, scan, and ask Alexa to pay for our gas, groceries and gifts. Or, we can connect with friends, family, and soon-to-be significant others through Facebook, dating apps, and Instagram.
While having this instant connection at our fingertips can be amazing, our seemingly constant contact with strangers can place us in unsafe situations.
- Ready to Uber or Lyft to the concert? You’re essentially stepping into a car by yourself with a stranger.
- Ready to swipe right on Tinder? You’re connecting with someone you never actually met in person – and perhaps never even talked to on the phone.
- Searching for a used car? Meeting up at a stranger’s house to test drive that Honda could place you in a situation where you wished you had a wireless panic button at your fingertips.
- Ordering dinner with a bottle of wine on Postmates? That means you’re inviting a stranger to the doorstep of your home.
Clearly, these apps and websites expose us to increased interactions with people we don’t know. Sadly, we cannot necessarily trust everyone.
Fortunately, there are some simple stranger safety tips that can allow you to continue enjoying the benefits of technology while preventing you from putting yourself in harm’s way.
Stranger Danger Tips
Keep others in the loop.
If you’re meeting a date you just met online, ask your best friend to sit at the bar while you have dinner with him or her. Or, if you’re catching a ride with Uber, let your partner know what time to expect you back home. By sharing your schedule and whereabouts with people close to you that you trust, you are building a safety network in the event that you don’t arrive at your destination on time, the date goes awry, etc. Because other people are looking out for you, they will more likely be aware something may have gone wrong quickly. This allows them to help you immediately, if necessary and is one of the best stranger safety tips.
Go into your sharing settings on social media platforms that you use, and get to know who can (and can’t) view and access your pictures, story, etc. Even if you’re interacting on a dating site, where the whole point is to get to know other people, be careful what you share. You shouldn’t reveal your last name, address, and workplace. Essentially, avoid providing any identifying information that pinpoints where you live, work, etc. until you know you can truly trust the person.
This allows you to see how easy it is for anyone to find out information about you. Also note that, if you use the same pictures on certain platforms, it’s possible that – even if you keep information private on the dating site, for example – it’s possible for someone to find that same profile picture on your Instagram story. With that additional information, someone with ulterior motives can learn much more about you than you were willing to reveal on eHarmony or Elite Singles.
Trust your gut
Let’s say you’re making a Craigslist purchase, and you arrange to meet someone after work to complete the transaction. In planning your meet up, do your best to connect in a well-lit, well-traveled, public location. Even under those circumstances, if something feels off when you are meeting up with the person, trust your instincts.
Don’t feel pressured to follow through and meet the person, make the purchase, etc. if you don’t feel comfortable. Nothing is worth your safety – or your life. If you really feel badly for changing your mind and standing someone up, not taking the ride, not following through on the purchase, you can always message them later with a vague reason as to why plans had to change.
In the event that you actually meet the person and something he or she does or says alarms you, report it. Don’t brush off bad behavior that scares you. Tell someone who can do something about that person’s words or actions. Even if that person never does anything to you, you may have saved the life of another person that was going to come into contact with him or her.
Wear – or carry – Silent Beacon everywhere!
This is absolutely your best stranger safety tip, because this personal safety device acts as a wireless panic button. No matter what situation you find yourself in, simply press the button on the lightweight, Bluetooth-enabled device, and help is on its way! That’s because the Silent Beacon, when paired with the free app, allows you to immediately connect with friends, family, and emergency personnel. When you trigger the alert, your contacts will receive instant phone calls, texts, and/or emails to let them know you’re in trouble. And the GPS technology will let first responders report to your location immediately.
While you wait for help to arrive, you can activate the two-way communication feature. This lets you talk to your primary contact the entire time. Also, because there are no call centers with expensive recurring charges. Most of people can afford the $99 device that puts them in direct contact with emergency assistance with the press of a button.
Interacting with strangers has become the new normal in our world today. By following these stranger safety tips, you’ll be taking proactive measures that limit your risk. Plus, when you carry the Silent Beacon with you, you’ll have peace of mind, knowing that you’re connected to help, 24/7.