Abusers use kid tracking apps to stalk victims
A DINNER lady who has served three generations of children is retiring after working at the same school for 45 years.
Great-gran Pauline Roberts, 74, started working at what was once St Dominic’s infant and junior schools in the 1970s.
Taking the job to fit around her sons’ school routine, Pauline thought the role would be temporary but came to love the staff and holidays.
Next week, Pauline will work her last dinner lady shift at the school, renamed Hope Primary, in Knowsley, Liverpool.
Headteacher John Casson said: “After an amazing 45 years of service the serving hatch will not be the same without her smiling face.”
Game helps brain
Tess Daly and her husband Vernon Kay like to keep tabs on their daughter Phoebe
SMARTPHONE tracker apps that help users keep tabs on loved ones are being abused by stalkers, charities warn.
The technology is popular with many parents who want to know exactly where their kids are.
The Life 360 app is used by over three million households in the UK alone – and celebs including Tess Daly, Jamie Oliver and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Mum-of-two Tess, 54, says she “obsessively” monitors 18-year-old daughter Phoebe’s driving.
Gwyneth, 50, has told how she keeps an eye on hubby Brad Falchuk with the app.
And dad-of-five Jamie, 48, has raved: “The older girls, Jools and I are all on an app called Life360, which means we can see exactly where everybody is and the route they’ve gone – it’s brilliant!”
It can also track car journeys from start to finish and reveal how fast someone is driving.
But domestic abusers are installing it on devices belonging to exes, children or partners without their knowledge.
Some victims realise the app is there but are terrified of disabling it in case it prompts a fit of rage.
One woman said her abusive ex secretly installed leading tracker Life 360 on her daughter’s ipad.
She said: “I found out he had been tracking us throughout the marriage. One time I was dropping a friend home and he messaged me asking why I had stopped the car.
“I became so paranoid that I didn’t even dare have conversations in my own car or in my home without switching devices off as I was convinced he was recording me.”
Domestic abuse charity Refuge says the number of people seeking help for digital spying has soared by 258% in five years.
Emma Pickering, of Refuge, said: “Countless survivors tell us that stalkerware apps have been installed on their phone, giving their perpetrator tools to intimidate, harass and manipulate them.”
Victims want tech firms to install special alerts because so many victims are unaware it has been installed on their devices.
Sarah Davidge, of Women’s Aid, agreed, adding: “Survivors need to know this technology is being used in this way in the first place, which is not often possible, given how subtle and unobtrusive it is.
“Tech companies must continue developing alert systems as well as improving awareness of how these devices and technologies could be used to achieve more sinister purposes”.
Life 360 was asked for comment. Of previous concerns, founder Chris Hulls said: “Is tracking my family stalking someone? No, it’s about making it easier to connect with people.”