The Risks of Technology in Shelters

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 the previous 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 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.

But, there are also many ways that we use technology to help the families at Interval House. Check back next week to learn how we’re using technology to provide more access to our services than ever before.