Parenting in the digital age is tricky. With worries about everything from cyber bullying to deciding what apps our kids will play with, it can be hard to figure out what’s right for your growing family. One thing many parents can agree on, however, is how hard it can be to get their preteen and teenaged kids to respond to text messages. UK-based dad Nick Herbert decided the best way to get his son to stop ignoring his texts was to use technology to his advantage: He created an app that disabled his son’s cell phone until he replied.
ReplyASAP was “born out of frustration with current messaging apps,” Herbert says on his website. After sending his son, Ben off to secondary school, Herbert got the lad a smartphone, hoping to use it to communicate with his son. What he quickly learned, however, is that like most teens, Ben wasn’t interested in speaking to or replying to his dad’s texts. “What I thought was a solution became a problem,” he says.
Inviting Ben in on the development process, ReplyASAP was born. Similar to popular WhatsApp, users who text back and forth using ReplyASAP can contact each other even if the phone is on silent, something that Herbert knew was stopping his son from checking possibly important calls from family.
The notifications on ReplyASAP will sound until someone actually checks the phone, and once a message is seen and read, if there is no reply, the app will freeze everything going on until a response has been sent — something that helps keep Herbert and his son on topic when using the app. “There is a mutual understanding that using ReplyASAP is only for important things and not because he needs new batteries for his Xbox controller,” Herbert says.
While the app is currently only available for Android, the company plans to roll out an iOS version soon, and assures users that regardless of what phone system they’re on, the app will be compatible (and you don’t need to be operating the same systems to use it with your kids). While this app is the first of its kind to fully be able to take over the screen of a phone, iOS users already have a similar option to help track and manage their kids.
Ignore No More is an app that parents can use to disable a child’s phone remotely if they aren’t replying to messages, forcing kids to respond to their parents’ messages. However, it does not deactivate the phone’s emergency function, allowing kids to continue to make telephone calls while ignoring their parents.
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(Photo via Getty)