Dad Invents App That Forces Kids To Reply After Son Ignores His Messages
It's no secret that the majority of young people spend a significant amount of time glued to their cell phones. Nowadays, if they want to contact their friends, teens don't have to go through parents on a landline. With nothing more than a few clicks, they can stay in touch with each other 24/7. While this is great from a socializing point of view, this constant communication clearly has a downside, distracting young people from their all-important homework and even their parents.
And on the subject of the latter, this can lead to a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety for parents. When your baby is making their first tentative steps into the adult world, you buy them a phone to give you peace of mind; so that you can contact them when they're out and about, and, most importantly, so that they can let you know they're safe.
But, as any parent will tell you, with phones crammed full of apps, a simple "Where are you?" text often goes ignored, as your teen opts to view their many other notifications instead. However, this doesn't have to be the case anymore, thanks to this app.
"So, how does the app work?", I hear you ask. In short, it forces kids to reply to their concerned parents by blocking access to everything else on their phone until they do. Now that really is one way to guarantee you'll get a reply - no Instagram!
As the picture below demonstrates, the app presents people with two options: they can either snooze or cancel the message.
You're probably thinking to yourself, "Well, what if they just click cancel?" Even if they do, you're still going to get your piece of mind as the app will inform you that the message has been read and provide you with your child's location. What's more is that it's impossible to ignore and will cause the phone to play an alert until it is "answered".
Brainchild of dad and product manager Nick Herbert, he created ReplyASAP after his son incessantly ignored his texts. In 2017, according to Bored Panda, the app had been downloaded a whopping 75,000 times - clearly, he was onto something!
Explaining the frustration he experienced before creating the app, Herbert said of his 15-year-old son:
"There's been a few occasions where I've tried and tried and still nothing. It's generally a culmination of, how can I get in contact with him if I need to?”
"He is always playing games and has the phone on silent. It drives me crazy. I'm hoping the app will make our relationship better.
"It will alleviate the stress when I can't get hold of him as I will know that he has seen my message."
Herbert described the app as a "safety mechanism" for parents and added that it can be of use in other situations too. If, for example, you have got an elderly family member who you want to keep a closer eye on, ReplyASAP is the perfect tool to do so.
And while Herbert created the app to ensure that his son was safe, he said that thankfully, it's usefulness has never come into play in an actual emergency situation - for him, at least. Although it has helped him ensure that his son has never missed dinner.
ReplyASAP, however, is not an option for all smartphone users and, for now, can only be downloaded for Andriod on the Google Play store. But if you are an Andriod user and like the sound of it, you get the added bonus of being able to download it for free!
If you want to use the app to connect with more than one person, there is a fee of $1.27 and up.
Even though the app could be a lifesaver in dangerous situations, its existence has not been met entirely with enthusiasm, with many people regarding it a way to allow parents to invade their children's privacy.
This has also been reflected by its three out of five-star rating on the Google Play store.
"I can assure you abusive and controlling significant others will utilize this. This is overall a horrible idea. Teach your child to respect you enough to call you, don’t let others suffer because you can't be a decent parent," one person remarked.
In response to such criticism, Herbert said: "Thanks for your review of my app. Both parties have to agree to the app being installed and either can block the other, to mitigate the situation you mention. It is primarily about communication and safety, understanding that the app is for urgent messages if other means fail, as the child can contact the parent via the app too."
Clearly, ReplyASAP is not going to be everyone's liking, although it's impossible to deny that it could be lifesaving in a dangerous situation, and, as Herbert himself pointed out, it does require the consent of both people to work.
Would you install it on your kid's phone? Or do you think that your kid should know better than to ignore you?