UNL Students Won't Use Smart Phone Safety App

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LINCOLN, Neb.-- University of Nebraska, Lincoln student leaders will not ask for funding for a smart phone safety application.

The application, Lifeline Response, was tested on 40 students last semester. But after a poor response to a survey, Student Body President Kevin Knudson and his staff decided to pass on the option to give students free access to Lifeline.

"When we're going to be signing a pretty hefty contract we want to make sure that students are actually going to utilize something like that," said Knudson. "It wasn't the pilot that I would really wanted."

Knudson said if he would have received a better response from students, he would have proposed that the University pay for enough downloads for all students and UNL.

The concern is that applications like Lifeline wouldn't be the first thing students go to when in trouble. UNL Police say dialing 911 should be the first thing students do when in trouble.

Knudson also said the application wouldn't work well in cold weather because of the way one of the modes work.

"We have really cold winters in Nebraska and one functionality is a thumb hold," said Knudson. "And that's not something you can do when you have thick gloves on."

The application has two modes. The first mode allows the user to set a timer as they travel from one destination to another. If the user doesn't deactivate the app by the time they get home, the app will remind the user to deactivate it.

If it doesn't get deactivated, local authorities are called to respond.

The second mode has the user keep their finger touching the screen, and if the finger slips off for any reason, the user has a finite amount of time to enter a deactivation code.

If they don't, a message is sent to local authorities to respond.

The phone also uses an advanced GPS tracking system to follow the phone once it has alarmed.

Knudson said student government will continue to work with UNL Police to find ways to make the campus a safe place.