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Samsung Phone and Safety Assistance

April 10, 2017

Posting Sunday about shopping for a new cell phone (specifically Android vs iPhone) reminded me of another Samsung phone feature that I stumbled upon in an amusing way.

For Christmas, my loving and generous children gave me a Samsung tablet. They chose Samsung knowing I have a Samsung phone (s5) that I’ve been really pleased with.

I was still adapting to the tablet when one evening I sat at the dining room table enjoying dinner alone though my daughter was home, working in another room. I had both my tablet and my cell phone with me. I was deeply into reading the 12 novel Poldark series by Winston Graham. I was reading the books through Kindle on my tablet.

Not wanting to be disturbed by my phone as I ate and read, I reached to lower its notifications volume.

The story has to divert here for additional info…
My new tablet has both the power button and the volume buttons on the right-hand side. My cell phone has the power button on the right-hand side, while the volume button is on the left-hand side.

Anyway, in my aging brain, I confused where the buttons are on each of the devices. I reached to turn down the volume on my phone and repeatedly pressed the button on the right hand side – the power button, thinking it was the volume button.

About three seconds later, my daughter appeared behind me and asked, “Mum, are you okay?” She was very serious. I said, “I’m great, just having my dinner!” She said, “Are you sure?” I looked at her and could see consternation on her face as she studied me and then her eyes suspiciously glanced around the room.

I assured her, “I’m perfectly fine. Why are you asking?”

She said, “You just sent an emergency alert out through your phone.”

“Who did I send it to?”

I don’t know. Who did you set up to receive it?”

“I have no idea what it is. I don’t think I ever set up anything.
Oh, God, did I sent it to all my contacts? How did I send it?”

Now we’re nervously laughing!

“Quickly text your brother and tell him I’m fine!”

At this point I study my phone. Two new images have arrived in my gallery – in a never-before-seen file labeled “Emergency.” One image is completely black. The other is an image of a small portion of my head and the dining room ceiling! I am amazed! And confused. (In retrospect, I think the phone automatically shot images from both sides of the phone. As it was face down on the table, one was completely black. The other shot caught a bit of me and the ceiling.)

My kids were able to reassure me that it looked as if I only sent the alert to them. So, I studied my settings to see what possibly could have happened. And here’s what I found:

Samsung has Safety assistance as a setting, which, now that I know about it, I love. When set to “On” the user can rapidly press the power button three times (as I did thinking I was lowering the volume…) and a message will go out to up to four pre-chosen contacts. I still have no idea how or when my children were chosen. But I love knowing this function is available on my phone.

On their end, what they received is text messages saying “SOS” and “I need help” as well as my google maps location. An audio recording is also sent out from the phone. (Click to open images and see captions).

Though the recording is short, I imagine that if the mic had picked up any sound, it would have kept recording.

I am amazed by this technology. I now carry my phone in hand with my thumb on the power button whenever I’m in a parking garage or parking lot or any other place where I don’t feel totally safe!

Thank you, Samsung!

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