For Australians looking to practice goodwill during the coronavirus outbreak, the CareMonger app may be the answer they're looking for.
A new app called CareMonger has recently launched for Australians who want to help their neighbours during the strict measures brought on by the Covid-19 crisis.
It aims to keep the community spirit alive and counter scaremongering, which has been an unfortunate result of the fear inspired by the pandemic.
The free-to-use mobile app, created by digital agency Isobar Australia, allows people within 10km of each other to request help or let others know they are offering their services for free.
App users are asked to set an ‘I am ...’ status that lets people in their neighbourhood see what they need, or what they’re offering to help with. Examples of these include "I'm looking for someone to walk my dog" or "I am a chef with fresh meals for anyone in need."
You can use a private chat function to connect with users.
CareMonger creator and Isobar Products and Ventures team Lead, Adam Famularo, created the app following news of the caremongering movement gaining momentum in Canada.
"The pandemic is forging bonds across communities and shining a spotlight on people’s enormous capacity for kindness. People want to help, but it can be hard to know where to start and there is currently no single platform or place capturing this," Famularo said in a press release sent to Lifehacker Australia.
"CareMonger brings all that goodwill together and gives Australians a one-stop platform to safely share, and receive, simple acts of kindness."
In fact, the private chat function built into the app is great for those who aren't comfortable seeking help publicly.
"In the current crisis, there are plenty of online offers to help, but far less requests. Asking for assistance can be confronting, which is why CareMonger gives users the option of doing so in a one-to-one chat function," Famularo explained.
"CareMonger is less about a transactional arrangement and more about building stronger communities that remain when the pandemic is over."
CareMonger is available for download on iOS and will be available for Android user in the coming days.
Here’s the thing about a pandemic: it’s everywhere. Everybody wants to read something reassuring. Everybody wants to say something useful. Everybody thinks their perspective matters. And most of us should just shut up so we can hear the actual experts speak.
eSafety Commissioner addresses safety concerns
As grateful as we are to apps such as CareMonger for promoting goodwill gestures during moments of crisis, it's hard not to think of potential security concerns.
ESafety Commissioner Julie Inmant Grant agrees with the need for apps like CareMonger but requests people to practice caution at the same time.
"Given the uglier sides of human behaviour we’ve witnessed over the past few weeks, it is encouraging to see apps like CareMonger, which have a sense of community spirit at their heart," Grant said to Lifehacker via email.
"But Australians do need to be aware apps like this have the potential to be misused, especially when it reveals your location and allows messaging and even online chat. I urge users to familiarise themselves with the privacy and safety settings, along with the mechanisms for reporting abuse, before they use any new app."
Other apps and groups with similar intentions
Already in action is Nextdoor, an online neighbourhood hub, which is focused on the exchange of helpful information, goods and services. You can post about safety tips, spread the word about a lost dog or recommend favourite local businesses. It's also free to use.
The app Mobility, self-described as a revolution in Australian health care, is helping families provide qualified care workers to their loved ones who may be far away and alone. The workers are all Certified in Infection Control and strict measures are in place to ensure both worker and client safety.
There's also Corona Virus COVID-19 Australia , which is a Facebook group offering support and assistance. You can find tips on grocery shopping on the cheap or even stay up-to-date on the current situation and find solace in how others are coping.
Spreading faster than the coronavirus outbreak itself is the wealth of information about it. Despite there being plenty available, our understanding of the virus and its spread has been changing more rapidly than we can manage regular updates for. This is best shown with Australia's own case count. While it's provided through the federal health department, it's not being updated as quickly as others so figures soon become outdated.
If you want to know how many confirmed coronavirus cases there are in Australia, here are some of the best sources to check.