The best apps for keeping your mobile device safe and sound in the wild
A popular app that warns users about the risks of leaving a phone on a beach is going through some serious trouble.
A recent study published in the journal Wilderness Medicine found the app’s use rate among people between the ages of 12 and 64 was at its lowest since it was launched in 2016.
“A large majority of users have never used this app before, and they are not well-educated about how to properly use it,” Dr Scott Brown, one of the study’s authors, said.
“The number of users who have been told to turn off the app has increased from zero to more than 40 per cent.”
In the study, the app was also used by more than 600 people aged 18 to 74 and more than 5,000 people aged 65 and older.
The study, which was conducted from March to October last year, found people using the app were more likely to report symptoms of mental health problems and to be worried about leaving their phone in the water for more than 10 minutes.
Users reported being more likely than those not using the service to have a phone with the phone number, a home phone, or a cellphone, among other information.
Dr Brown said while there were other apps out there that can help people keep their phones safe and sounds good, the apps that are available now tended to focus on one specific type of information, such as weather warnings.
“There are other apps that can give you an indication of whether it’s safe to go out in the ocean or whether it might be wise to stay home,” he said.
He said it was important that users were given the information they needed to make informed decisions about what they should do with their phones, and not just be advised to turn them off.
A spokesman for the Department of Primary Industries said there was no evidence the app had increased use of phones.
“It is an app that provides information on water safety, and while there are safety and privacy concerns, the information is not intended to be used for any other purpose than providing information to those users,” the spokesman said.
“The Department of Education has no plans to restrict the use of this app.”
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