Recently I met two knights. Their names are Chris Gould and Chris Hawthorn.
Knight 1 is Chris Gould, chairman and founder of Child-Safe International. Knight 2 is Chris Hawthorn, who founded The SafeKnight Foundation and poured his life savings into developing the SafeKnight mobile phone app. This free app is BBC Click’s Best App of 2012 and was a top five finalist in a World Youth & Student Travel Conference competition in Sydney last September.
I have decided to refer to them as Knight 1 and 2 instead of Chris 1 and 2 because what they are doing all over the world for young people can truly be likened to ‘knights in shining armour’.
Knight 1 Chris Gould contacted me after reading ‘Write About Me’, my debut fiction novel about a missing Australian teenager called Annabelle Brown which is inspired by my cousin Ursula Barwick, missing for more than 26 years.
I have met Knight 1 in person and Knight 2 Chris Hawthorn via the virtual world.
It is an honour and a privilege to be collaborating with them to help prevent young people from going missing and to find missing people via this amazing technology.
The SafeKnight app is for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android. With just one click, the app enables you to take a photo then automatically stores it on a secure database, paired with your unique ID, time, date and the GPS location of where it was taken.
I wish something like this had been around in 1987 when Ursula went missing. All we had back then were phone boxes that needed 20-cent coins and letters in envelopes that needed a 37-cent stamp. It was an era when we watched ‘Back to the Future’ but still never imagined someone could create something as sophisticated as the SafeKnight app. The mystery of Ursula is now more than 26 years old and might never be solved. Something like this app could have provided a vital clue for police so they would at least have known where to start looking for her.
If there was something, like this app, that could have prevented Ursula from disappearing off the face of the earth – she might still be with us. Or at least we might have known where to start looking. With a safety tool like this at your fingertips you can prevent situations escalating out of your control. If someone is intending to hurt you and knows you are taking a photo that can give police the exact time, date and location they might think twice – giving you a better chance of getting home safely to your family and friends to live a long and happy life.
For the young people of today just like Ursula, who are restless with their own lives and want to travel independently and follow their own paths, I have two recommendations.
- Firstly, download the free SafeKnight app onto your phone and use it as your camera. When you’re travelling take photos of the sights and send them to your family and friends and keep them for your own travel blog. And feel safer in the knowledge these photos go to a virtual place where nobody can see them but if you go missing, they will provide a vital starting point for investigators. Vital clues. Location. Date. Time. Details like this are so important, especially in the first few hours and days.
- Secondly, please read Annabelle Brown’s story in Write About Me. Annabelle is a fictional character with a fictional family, fictional friends and a fictional life. But you will find glimpses of our dearly loved and deeply missed Ursula on every page and it might help you realise how easily you can end up in a vulnerable situation – even if you are strong, independent, smart and brave.
You can download the FREE SafeKnight app at: