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Why So Many Young Women Share Their Location When They Go (Pretty Much) Anywhere

Photo: Maria Savenko / Shutterstock
woman who used share my location

As women, we are always cautious when going to the store, on a date, and even on a run.

We always are prepared for the worst and know we need to keep an eye out for our safety.

That's why we carry around pepper spray, hold our keys between our fingers, and use the share my location feature or similar tracking apps to make sure we and our friends can keep tabs on each other.

These days it feels as though it's never safe for a woman to go anywhere alone given the near-constant threat of being harassed, kidnapped, assaulted, or even murdered.

It's become a sort of universal practice for young women to share our location with someone at all times.

Even when we are simply going out for an errand, anything can happen.

After constantly hearing news about women disappearing or being harmed, we've become so vigilant that it's no question that we don't share our locations with our girlfriends.

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The kidnapping and murder case of Sarah Everard, who was killed by now-former, then-active police officer Wayne Couzens in March, sparked outrage and increased the precautions women feel we need to take, such as location sharing, rape alarms and not walking alone at night.

Everard's death taught us that we can't even trust the police, who are supposed to serve and protect and not rape and kill.

Young women meet new people on dating apps like Tinder, Hinge and Bumble all the time. And while dating can be fun, we sometimes forget we don't know anything about these people and have to remember they are still strangers.

The use of tracking apps like Find My Friends, Life 360, and Snapchat maps has become the norm for young women for good reason.

We use these apps because it gives us a sense of reassurance to know that a person you trust and love is aware of where we are if the worst were to happen.

Tracking apps provide us some comfort and protection, so when we go out on a Tinder date, travel in an Uber, or simply take a walk, we know we aren't completely alone.

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We can only defend ourselves to an extent with self-defense moves, pepper spray, rape alarms and self-defense claws, but through the use of tracking apps, we now have an extra step we can take before going out.

The sad part is that women have to do all of this and expend so much energy just to stay alive and unharmed.

And even if we do everything "right," we still are at risk for anything to happen.

Location sharing has become one more step in our every-growing checklist of things to do before going out so we can make it back home.

Men can go out with just their phones, wallet and keys and feel generally safe.

Who says women can't do the same?

Oh, right. We can — but just after taking some extra precautions (and a sense of fear).

Though tracking your friends may seem creepy or weird at first, you'll soon realize that it makes you and your friends feel safe and secure — and it might even change the dynamic of your friendship.

Sharing your location with friends can be convenient if you want to see how far away your friend is if they got a ride from a rideshare app like Uber.

You can also see where your friend might be going on a date, and if the location seems sketchy, you can stay alert in case they need you in an emergency.

Most importantly, and this is why most people share their location, you can see if your friends got home safely at the end of the night.

Even though you might be giving up a sense of privacy with these location-sharing apps, you don't care about the data collection aspect, because your safety, and your best friend's safety, are more important.

Remember, sharing locations can build trust and intimacy with friends who have your back, and can see you on the map.

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Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers pop culture, love and relationships, and self-care.