Thread is now available at www.thethreadapp.com
A new personal safety app developed by the Carly Ryan Foundation (CRF) which enables children and other users to send emergency alerts and broadcast their GPS location to trusted contacts was unveiled by Education and Child Development Minister Jennifer Rankine on January 28th 2015.
The Thread app - developed with funding from the State Government and Google - is the latest in a range of measures to improve children and young people's safety in our State.
Minister Rankine launched Thread alongside CRF Director Sonya Ryan, and said it will help children and young people become more educated and aware of their personal safety, and give parents discreet contact with their children when they're not in a supervised environment.
“The safety and protection of their children and young people is at the forefront of parents' and carers' minds, which is why we support the Carly Ryan Foundation in supporting and alerting families on how they can help protect their children from the dangers which sadly exist in our society," Ms Rankine said.
The State Government was pleased to contribute to the app's development, and I'm confident it will be a vital tool for families, particularly as children move out into the world on their own.
“This support is one of a range of measures I have introduced to strengthen child protection, including enhanced safety screening of professionals and volunteers who work with children, increased resources for the Child Abuse Report Line and the creation of a dedicated Incident Management Division to improve the way schools report and respond to safety concerns."
CRF Director Sonya Ryan said she hoped Thread would encourage families to talk openly about the importance of regular communication, personal safety and mutual trust.
“While Thread has an underlying focus on safety, it is also about building trust between children and their parents, and making it known that their safety and whereabouts is important," Ms Ryan said.
Ms Ryan said that the devastating loss of her daughter Carly had given her a chilling insight into how easily young people could find themselves alone and exposed if they innocently misplaced their trust.
“Sadly, young people are not fitted with the benefit of experience when it comes to navigating the outside world, and often have more limited financial means, transport and social supports compared to adults; this can make them vulnerable in emergency situations. We wanted to create an app that was not only simple, secure and accessible to a range of different age groups, but also functional within an emergency situation - which is where the GPS messaging and alert features have the potential to make a very real difference."
Some of the app's key features include:
- A compulsory check-in function that allows parents to organise alerts for when their child arrives at their intended destination or misses their scheduled arrival, as well as an ad hoc check-in function for older users to discreetly keep in touch with their families
- An emergency alert function which simultaneously connects users with the 000 and their nominated contacts in an emergency
- Chat and photo functions giving users the power to instantly summon friends for help even in non-emergency situations
- Free to download and use, meaning users can send and receive information without call credits
- A discreet and aesthetically-pleasing design aimed at an increasingly tech-savvy audience
- Automatic email back up function to ensure location, data and other information can be easily retrieved by police and emergency services
- Pin-sensitive to prevent unauthorised use and impersonation
- Links to additional resources including the Carly Ryan Foundation, Google Safety Centre, Youth Beyond Blue, Crime Stoppers, Kids Helpline, Lifeline and Think You Know
The Thread app will be available immediately for Apple users via the Apple App Store. An app designed for Android devices is expected to be available to download on the Google Playstore in March.