Parents have often complained that their teens don’t respond to their calls and texts. It’s frustrating, at least from the parents’ perspective. So, a dad in the UK named Nick Herbert came up with the idea of an app that would freeze kids’ phones until they responded to their parents back. The app called ReplyASAP is available on the Google Play Store and has already been downloaded more than 75,000 times. Unfortunately, Nick Herbert’s 13-year-old son Ben uses an iPhone. The iOS version of the app is still in the works.
A savior for parents or a headache for kids?
The ReplyASAP app launched on the Google Play Store in August 2017. Herbert didn’t reveal when the iOS version would come out. The app is free to use for the first “connection.” Programming the app for additional devices is going to cost you a monthly fee. If you are a frustrated parent who is tired of their kids missing or not seeing your calls or texts, this app could prove useful. It gets your message across even if your child keeps their phone on silent all the time.
Herbert developed this app because he was tired of his teenage son Ben ignoring his text messages. The ReplyASAP locks down the kids’ phones until they responded back. If your kid’s phone is on silent, the app sets off an alarm to get their attention. Herbert told the Daily Mail that his son “is always playing games and has the phone on silent.” “It drives me crazy,” he added.
The app gives concerned parents a way to reach their kids in case of an emergency, but sometimes the parents could misuse it. Nick and Ben have a mutual understanding that they will use ReplyASAP “only for important things and not because he needs new batteries for his xbox controller.”
— ReplyASAP (@ReplyASAPapp) October 6, 2017
If you send a text via ReplyASAP to your son or daughter, an alarm will sound even if they have kept the phone on silent mode. It instantly locks down the phone – preventing the user from opening other apps – until they answer the text or at least read it. Parents no longer have to worry about their texts being ignored. The kid will have the option to snooze it temporarily, but the only way to fully turn it off is to respond to the message. When they snooze it, the parent will be notified that the message has been seen.
Of course, it would work only if both the parent and kid have mutually agreed to install the app on their respective phones and connect to each other. Children can delete the app at any point, but the parent will be notified about it. Nick Herbert told the Mirror that he discussed it with Ben during the development process. The teenager liked the idea because when he gets a text via the app, he would know that it’s really important. The father-son duo has agreed to use it only for “important things.”
ReplyASAP could prove useful in other scenarios as well
Nick hopes the app would “make our relationship better.” The app has many other use cases besides being a savior for concerned parents. Nick said people have suggested that it could be used to change your order when your friend is getting the drinks in at the bar. It could also prove useful at work when you need to reach a colleague quickly for something urgent and important. You could also use it to find your phone if you have misplaced it at home.
ReplyASAP is not the first app of this kind. Back in 2014, a developer named Sharon Standifird had launched the Ignore No More app that would lock a kid’s phone until they called their parents for a password. The app is no longer available. It sparked a serious debate regarding the level of independence of teenagers. Herbert’s app doesn’t force teens to call the parent for a password – they can snooze it or reply to the text. In ReplyASAP, kids also have the option to block a user.
Technology companies such as Apple and Google have added greater parental controls in their mobile platforms. With iOS 12, Apple introduced Screen Time to curb screen addiction among both kids and adults. It allows parents to have more control over their child’s iPhones or iPads. They can regulate how much time the child spends in a given app or category. Parents can also remotely enable Downtime, which locks a child out of iOS devices during meals or bedtime. But the Screen Time, Parental Controls, or Google’s Digital Wellbeing don’t offer the functionality that ReplyASAP does.