Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL

What is Kitestring?

It’s a personal safety service. Ask Kitestring to check up on you at some future time, and Kitestring will text you to make sure you’re safe. Reply to the message or check in on the website and all is well. If you don’t check in, Kitestring alerts the emergency contacts that you set up ahead of time. Of course, you can always extend your ETA or check in early.

Why should I use Kitestring?

There are a few personal safety apps and services out there, many of which are great tools, but there are a few reasons why we decided to create Kitestring:

  1. Most people don’t use personal safety apps, mainly because they’re too inconvenient. We put a lot of time and love into Kitestring to make it as easy as cherry pie.
  2. Most of these apps are triggered by some action, like pushing a big red button or shaking one’s phone. I suspect that a lot of bad situations do not afford a victim the opportunity to take these actions. Kitestring is a little different—it’s triggered by the victim’s inaction.
  3. Many of these apps are not free – after all, their creators need to eat. But any price tag, no matter how small, is enough to deter most people. Kitestring is free because we want people to use it.

Who is Kitestring for?

The idea for Kitestring appeared after one of our girlfriends, who lived in a dangerous neighborhood in San Francisco, requested to check up on her as she was walking home from work one day. This raised the question – is there an app or service that could offer a little extra safety when going out at night?

But, since the launch of Kitestring, many different people have found creative ways to use Kitestring – ways that we never anticipated when we first launched. We’ve heard from real estate agents, online daters, outdoor adventurers, motorcyclists, military spouses, single parents, the LGBTQ community, senior citizens living alone, college students and many more!

Each of these demographics faces a unique set of dangers. We spoke with a few independent senior citizens who use Kitestring so their families don’t feel the need to check up on them constantly. We heard from a real estate agent who uses Kitestring when she holds open houses. A motorcyclist told us he likes to ride by himself on the open road, and he uses Kitestring to send help in case of an accident.

People use Kitestring because it alerts their contact(s) when something bad prevents them from checking in. For that, we think it does a pretty darn good job.

Is Kitestring free?

Yes! But for the price of a cheap slice of pizza, we’ll reward you with some cool bonus features.

Is there a native mobile app?

No, Kitestring is an SMS-based service. If you can send text messages, you can use Kitestring. We’ll spare you the trouble of downloading another app. You don’t even need a smartphone.

Do my emergency contacts need to confirm their phone numbers?

No. Your emergency contacts don’t even have to know that they are your emergency contacts—though we think it might be wise to tell them.

What if my phone runs out of battery?

You won’t be able to check in, and Kitestring will notify your emergency contacts when your trip is over (as it normally would). The notifications system runs on our servers and does not depend on your phone being available.

In what countries is Kitestring available?

Technically, Kitestring may be used in many countries, but the interface is English-only for now. Note that international SMS rates may apply outside the US/UK.

What is Kitestring’s association with Tep Wireless?

Kitestring was acquired by Tep Wireless in early 2017.

SETUP & USAGE

How do I start a trip via SMS?

Text Kitestring a duration, e.g. “45m”, to initiate a trip.

I’m taking a while to get home. Can I extend my ETA?

Of course. Just text Kitestring a new ETA, e.g. “15m”. For security purposes, we will not allow you to extend your trip more than an hour past your original ETA—but you can always check in and start a new trip.

How do I check in via SMS?

Text “ok” (or your check-in password, if applicable) to your Kitestring number.

Can I ask about my next check-in via SMS?

Sure! Just text status or eta to your Kitestring number.

Can I set my emergency message via SMS?

You bet! Just text message YOUR MESSAGE to your Kitestring number.

Can I set my duress message via SMS?

Of course! Just text duress message YOUR MESSAGE to your Kitestring number. You may also text duress message none to set your duress message to be the same as your emergency message.

Can I control perennial mode via SMS?

Totally. To turn on perennial mode, text Kitestring an interval like this: “perennial 15m”. You can turn off perennial mode with perennial off or perennial CHECK-IN PASSWORD (if applicable).

Note: Perennial mode is only available to Kitestring Plus users.

How do I make Kitestring be more like my mom or best friend?

That’s not a weird request at all! Luckily you can customize the check-in reminder to make it sound like anything or anyone you want!. For example, you can set the check-in reminder to be “Hey, wanna grab a pizza?” or “Your mom is worried sick, are you ok?”

Can I test Kitestring with myself as an emergency contact?

Sure! That’s a good way to see how it all works.

In which format should I enter phone numbers?

Kitestring isn’t too picky with phone numbers, but you might use the E.164 format for best results.

I forgot my password. What do I do?

Text reset password to your Kitestring number (or +15122715063), and Kitestring will send you a new password (which you can change on the website).

Can an attacker check in on my behalf?

You can set a secret check-in password to prevent that from happening. We strongly recommend that you do this. For extra security, set a new check-in password or delete your texting history after every trip.

I’m in trouble. Is there a quick way to alert my contacts?

As an added measure of safety, you can set a secret duress code. Check in with your duress code, and Kitestring will immediately (and discreetly) send your alert message to your emergency contacts. We strongly recommend that you set a duress code.

I need help!

We’re around 24/7 – just email [email protected]!

PLANS & BILLING

What do I get with the free plan?

With the free plan you get three free trips per month and one emergency contact.

What do I get with the paid plan?

With the paid plan, you get unlimited trips and emergency contacts, and you also get access to Perrenial mode, which enables you to be checked up on every few minutes or hours.

Can I cancel / switch plans at any time?

Yes. While logged in, you may switch plans at any time from this page.

When am I billed?

We bill you once per month, starting when you first sign up. We’ll email you a receipt for every invoice.