This feature on most iPhones could save your life. Make sure your kids know about this one.

My teenage daughter got a lecture from me the other night. She hadn’t done anything wrong but she was about to go out for the evening with some friends and their plan was to go to a shopping mall in town. I know this shopping mall. It shows up on the news every few weeks in a story about a robbery or assault in the parking lot.

“When you’re leaving the mall, make sure you’re not being followed,” I said.  Then I set up a little-known feature on her phone called ‘Emergency S.O.S’.

If you feel you need to call police, you could unlock the screen, open your phone app and punch in 9-1-1. But let’s say you need to do it more quickly. Maybe you don’t want someone knowing you’re calling for help. If you’ve got an iPhone, you can dial 911, without even touching the screen.

Simply press the on-off button, the one on the right side of the iPhone, 5 times, quickly. That’s going to do 2 things, sound an alarm and call 9-1-1. Depending on which iPhone you have, you may be asked to drag a slider to make the SOS call. With the new iPhones, the 8, 8 plus or X, it’ll place the call automatically to the nearest 911 call center based on your phone’s GPS and shares your location.

After calling 9-1-1, the phone will send a text message to your emergency contacts. They’ll see that you’ve called for help and your exact location.

You may want to set up your emergency contacts. You can do that in the health app under Medical ID but there’s a shortcut.

In settings look for ‘Emergency SOS’. You can edit several settings here. It will give the option to edit emergency contacts within the Health app. It will actually open your Medical ID information page. This is a good thing to set up. In the upper right-hand corner click ‘edit’. You’ll then see the option to add emergency contacts.

This is one of those things that heaven-forbid you ever need, but it’s a good idea to set it up, especially on the phone your kids use.