There’s a new app that locks teens’ phones until they reply to parents’ texts
Posted August 23
Updated August 25
Kids and teenagers are constantly plugged in these days. But despite the fact that they always have their faces glued to a screen, if you’re a parent, you know it can surprisingly hard to get ahold of them.
Nick Herbert, a father in the United Kingdom, got his son Ben an iPhone when he entered middle school, believing it would be an easy way to keep in touch. But it didn’t go exactly as planned.
“I still can’t get hold of him very easily as it’s always on silent because he is [playing] games or has been at school and forgotten to turn the sound back on,” Herbert told Good Housekeeping.
(We hate to break it to you, dad, but there’s also a chance your tween son is, you know, purposefully ignoring your messages. Sorry, we know the truth hurts!)
Herbert wanted to find a way to ensure Ben not only saw his messages, but also replied to them in a timely manner.
“There didn’t seem to be a solution out there that allowed me to send a message to him, that would override the silent function, appear over whatever he was doing and tell me when he had seen it,” he said.
So, he did what any smart parent would do-he invented an app for that!
Herbert’s app is called ReplyASAP, and it gives parents some serious messaging power. Here’s how it works: When you send a message to someone using ReplyASAP, it sounds an alarm on their phone even if the phone is on silent. The message appears over whatever else they’re doing on the phone, and the alarm continues until the message is acknowledged. This allows parents to confirm that their child has seen the message, and prompts teens to reply to stop the noise and get back to whatever else they wanted to do on their phone.
“During the development process I spoke to Ben and showed him the designs and thinking behind the app and he likes the idea because he will know that if he gets one of these messages then he will always hear it and will know its important,” Herbert wrote on the ReplyASAP site.
Herbert notes that the ReplyASAP app works both ways, which means teens can also use it to send urgent messages to their parents’ phones. However, he said, “There is a mutual understanding that using ReplyASAP is only for important things and not because he needs new batteries for his Xbox controller.”
The app is currently available for Android while Herbert and Ben test out the iPhone version, which is coming soon.