Personal Security through Smart Technology for Women


Personal security is of paramount concern to Indian women. Despite the concerted efforts of the state security, Chennai reported maximum incidences of crime against women in Tamil Nadu. Unlike other technological innovations, urban youth were quick to adopt the mobile phone technology, particularly smartphone adoption. Personal security apps installed on smart phones is perceived as an innovation to curtail threats to personal security. This study analyzes apps usage amongst women students in Chennai, their awareness about personal security apps and the degree of its adoption among them.

Innovation Decision Process theory (Roger, 1983) provides a framework to explain an account of adoption of personal security apps among women students. The stages include: Awareness of personal security apps, persuasion that these apps are reliable, the decision to choose which personal security apps would be the most effective, the implementation of apps, and finally, confirmation that the apps is a ‘secure’ companion in times of need.

Using convenient sampling, an online survey was conducted amongst women students aged 18-25 years and 20 such respondents were interviewed. It was found that young women were early adopters of the Smartphone technology and potential adopters of personal security apps. Though they were aware of the innovation, only one-fifth of them had installed personal security apps on their phone. Amongst those who have installed, more than half of the respondents disagree that the tool would bring immediate help in times of need. Respondents trust their interpersonal network of family and male friends over personal security apps. They strongly believe in interpersonal relationships and thus, are not persuaded that these apps are reliable. Celebrity endorsement through a television commercial helped in creating awareness about personal security apps but did not lead to decision and implementation. Further, respondents did not find the apps as top of mind recall in times of need. Thus, respondents don’t confirm such apps as a secure companion. They also trust their community and the state security, making them believe that they live in a safe place. Lack of adoption amongst peers, requirement of Internet and poor network are some of the reasons for inadequate diffusion of this innovation.