My roommates and I started sharing our location with each other. It made us feel safe as single women in our 20s.

Women looking at phones
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  • In 2023 I moved in with two roommates and we all started sharing our location with each other.

  • I now use it to know of any of them are in our apartment before I start singing in the kitchen.

  • Location sharing made me feel safe and made us bond as roommates.

I first became familiar with location sharing when Snapchat introduced the highly addictive Snap Maps in June 2017. Its multifunctionality could not be understated: it became a way for me to navigate my way to my friends, to work out which of my eight university housemates were home, or to snoop on friends and acquaintances.

When I moved into a new apartment in London in October 2023, sharing my location with the two girls I was living with seemed like a natural step — something to be prioritized before other essentials like how to split bills.

Trading off my own privacy was a small price to pay for the reassurance of knowing that someone could tell where I was with stalker-level accuracy.

We felt safe while dating

Location sharing felt more important now than ever before. Living in London could be dangerous at the best of times, and the multitude of police reports about women's safety over the last few years had made three girls in their early 20s increasingly paranoid.

Checking their locations became part of my daily routine. When Kimberley went on a run, we could check that she was making it back OK. When I fell down a flight of stairs at our local cinema, they could easily find out where I was.

A big incentive for doing this was for dating security. While I don't want to navigate the world with an inherent assumption that men are awful, there are ways to reduce the anxiety of dating, even if it might be more of a placebo than practicality.

More often than not, location sharing probably won't help because it doesn't actually tell you that much about the person. Sure, you know where they are, but you don't know in what condition. Instead, you're still reliant on communication, standing to attention as you wait to track them down if the worst does occur and you receive the dreaded SOS message.

Somewhat ironically, in this vein, some of my most uncomfortable encounters have occurred in the safety of my own home. To those observing Find My Friends, I seemed perfectly fine, clearly just enjoying my own company and having a quiet night in. In reality, I was sometimes getting myself into situations with pushy men who I thought could harm me, instantly regretting inviting them into what I had previously seen as a safe space.

I don't have to ask if they are in our apartment

As each of my housemates settled into relationships, the need to check each other's locations on dates became less important. Having met their boyfriends, I didn't feel the need to be on high alert when I knew they were out together. Instead, my housemates continued their job as digital security guards for me as I dated my way around London.

Location sharing became an acceptable excuse just to be nosy. I was free to belt musicals in the kitchen without having to ask who was home on our group chat. It meant that Kelly could shamelessly send texts like "Have you gone back to his?" when I was on a date without me thinking she was being invasive.

Not only did location sharing give us the freedom to act independently, reassured by the constant monitoring, but it also gave us the freedom to be more open with one another. It might seem co-dependent, but I really valued the trust that we shared in being vulnerable enough to share our locations 24/7.

Location sharing might not be the be-all and end-all to women's safety, but it can help in a crisis, and in the meantime, it can be a great way to bond with other women.

Read the original article on Business Insider