Public perceptions and use
There have been a number of studies into the way people use phones, and whether they do indeed make us safer, but results have been inconclusive.
One 2010 investigation, carried out by the Pew Research Centre, for example, found that 91% of people would say that they feel safer because they can use their phone to get help.
But feeling safer and actually being safer are very different things. Could phones just provide the illusion of safety?
In fact, feeling safer could mean you're more likely to take risks a study from 2000 found that, if they had their mobile phones to hand, 42% of women and 28% of men would walk somewhere at night where they wouldn't usually go.
However, a follow-up study found that distraction could be the biggest risk, with 48% of people saying they would cross a road recklessly while using their phone.
But these studies were carried out in relatively early days for the smartphone, and long before many safety apps and features would be developed (or even before smartphones actually came into existence).
To get a better idea of where we are now, with smartphones far more accessible than they were six years ago, and with more apps than ever, we need some fresh research so we conducted a survey of 1,000 people across the UK for some more up-to-date numbers.
We found that a surprisingly low number of people are aware of what their phone can do, beyond the normal calls and texts and that even less people actually use them. When asked about some of the more common safety features, 74% of people were aware of them, but only 50% of people actually had any set up. GPS trackers were the best known, with 48% of people knowing they existed, while 43% had heard of emergency contacts but only 25% of people had gone on to set either one up.