How your Smart Home could ruin your life

smart home

We’ve all seen those horror films, a vulnerable woman stands alone in her house and the lights begin to flicker, the radio starts to blast music. The woman begins to scream and beg her ghostly tormentors to leave her alone. Sadly, for some people, this narrative has been bought to life.

Since smart appliances and devices have been invented companies have been very aware of the risk their users are exposed to if they come under siege from hackers. They envisioned these hackers setting out to steal personal data and confidential details. What they did not imagine though, is their innovative devices being used in attacks of a personal nature.

When you think of domestic abuse you think of physical violence and emotional torture, you think of controlling behaviours and victims too afraid to escape. You don’t usually think of Alexa and Amazon Echo. What we neglect to think about when installing these devices, is the effect they will have on our lives if they are used against us.

amazon echo

Most smart home devices can be controlled remotely via an app. All the user needs is a password. In most relationships couples work as a team, managing different areas of their lives and working together to ensure success. In abusive relationships one party controls everything, he/she handles the passwords, the utilities, the finances and keeps the other person isolated and powerless.

Smart devices sometimes become ammunition in psychological warfare. Abusers change passwords, flick lights on and off, turn the heating up until it is unbearable, blast music set off alarms. They do anything to maintain control and make life difficult for their victims. 

Woman are particularly at risk because, despite feminist advancements, men still seem to be installing most technological products within the household. This leaves victims vulnerable to attack because they do not know how to disable products or change passwords on devices. 

As the industry continues to grow in size and developers market more and more products, every adult in the household should endeavour to understand how to properly use and monitor the products they install. This reduces the chances of an enraged Ex being in control of the house you are living in.  
It is incredibly easy though, for us to encourage people to take back power and be completely aware of the devices they use. Victims of domestic abuse may not always have that luxury. 

Anyone experiencing domestic abuse, controlling behaviour or believes that they are in danger should contact the appropriate authorities and get professional help.

Written By Yazmine Howes