These posts were first published on the Interval House website and have been republished with permission.
Technology has had some very positive effects on our society. In fact, smartphones, tablets, apps, and other technologies can actually support empowering and advocating for women who are experiencing violence.
Unfortunately, there is an increasing trend in electronic violence against woman.
And, as our cyber stalking blog post mentions, electronic-based violence can take away a survivor’s sense of safety. Even after she has fled to a shelter, these technologies can make shelter living complicated, and can even put people at risk.
So, what does the use of apps and smartphones in shelters mean for families at Interval House?
At Interval House, our first priority is the safety of the families who stay with us. And though social media and apps can be fun, they can also be used to send out personal information.
For example, Facebook now has a feature called ‘Nearby Friends”. This feature lets mobile users find out where their friends are using GPS. With this app turned on, it’s easy for an abuser to find out Interval House’s location – and this puts the safety of all our residents at risk.
Even an app like Apple’s FaceTime can easily put our clients at risk. If someone is using FaceTime in our living room, and another resident walks by, that resident’s privacy has just been compromised.
At Interval House, we talk about the importance of privacy and show our clients, staff and volunteers how to use apps and technologies in a safe way.
There are also many ways that we use technology to help the families at Interval House. For example, we use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr to spread the word about our shelter and programs in order to reach a wider audience.
We’ve even found a way to make our website safe to use! Women are in the most danger when they try to leave their abuser. Knowing this, we made sure that our website has a “Panic button” feature. This allows women who visit our website looking for information, to quickly switch to the Google browser if they need to.
We use technology and social media to help us to spread our message, and to better serve the women who come to our centre. But we’re not done yet! We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to use technology to help us reach out to more women than ever before.
Want to get involved? Send us your ideas on how we can use technology to help women and their children suffering from abuse to firstname.lastname@example.org.