This Genius Phone App Stops Kids From Using Their Phone Until They Text Their Parents Back
Being a parent of teens no doubt comes with its stresses. There's the constant worry they're staying safe, which is only made worse when they don't answer your text messages.
Nick Herbert, 47, was at his wits end with his son Ben, 15, who was failing to answer his texts that he took matters into his own hands.
The divorced dad-of-one invented RespondASAP, the app that 'hijacks' his son's phone by locking the screen until he reads the message.
The clever app sounds an alarm on a the child's phone until they have read it (even if their phone is on silent) then sends back a message informing the parent their text has been read. The child can also send the same urgent messages back.
For it to work, the app needs to be downloaded on both parties' mobile phones.
"I came up with the idea when Ben first went to secondary school," Nick, a project manager from Bromley, explained.
"I was getting frustrated that Ben wouldn't respond to my texts, by swiping them off to the side while he watched videos, or keeping his phone on silent.
"In some cases, I found that Ben was just ignoring me in front of his friends.
"So I decided to go about building an app that would allow me to momentarily 'takeover' his phone when I sent texts that needed urgent answers."
Nick made the app available for other parents two years ago for 99p and it has since been downloaded 2,500 times.
He continued: "Initially, I imagined only parents would have that power to 'hijack' their child's phone.
"But when I chatted with Ben, he raised the important question of privacy and consent. He asked about situations where he might need to contact me urgently.
"So the app has a two-way system, where parent and child enter into an agreement that both can send urgent messages provided neither abuse the privilege.
"To start with, Ben agreed to do it because he never imagined I'd go through with it.
"But it's worked a treat, and - since neither of us are sending loads of messages through RespondASAP all the time - it's consenting."
When Nick first went about creating the design for the app, he says his friends came up with a ton of 'trivial' uses for it.
He explained: "Their suggestions ranged from changing your order when your friend is getting the drinks in at the bar, to finding your phone when you've misplaced it at home, to work situations when you need to get hold of work colleagues quickly.
"However you want to use the app, I hope you enjoy it, use it responsibly and not while driving and can finally get hold of that person who always has their phone on silent."
Our teenage selves would hate this, but the adult in us has to admit it's a good idea.
Featured Image Credit: Maxpixel