Do you have trouble getting your children to reply your calls or texts?
Many parents expect that getting their kids a smartphone will make them more contactable. But the reality with today’s digitally connected youth may be quite the opposite. It’s surprising how much time kids spend on their phones with friends or playing games, but still fail to respond to their parent’s attempts to communicate with them.
Nick Herbert from London became frustrated by this very scenario and decided to take up the technological challenge of building an app. He named it ReplyASAP.
Nick’s 13-year-old son, Ben, never returned his calls. “He is always playing games and has the phone on silent. It drives me crazy,” Nick told Metro.
Nick had purchased a smartphone for Ben when he started middle school, but quickly learned that the majority of his attempts to contact Ben were being ignored.
Ben explained that he often missed his dad’s calls as he kept his phone on silent.
The Android-compatible app, released on Aug. 9, locks the recipient’s phone and sounds an alarm—even if the phone is on silent. The only way to make the alarm stop is to reply your message.
No matter what they are up to on the phone, ReplyASAP overtakes the phone’s screen, forcing the person on the other end to reply in order to return to the phone’s other functions.
The app will also notify the sender when the recipient has viewed the message, which Nick designed to help put worried parents at ease. At least parents will know if their child receives their message.
Nick says he does not recommend that parents rely on the app for day-to-day communication with their children.
“As they are teenagers I realize they aren’t going to be massively keen,” Nick told Newshopper. “My son hasn’t really said anything negative about the app. It is all about him understanding why it’s there.”
Nick says that for his parenting style, he plans for both he and his son to use the app with each other.
“He will also have the ability to send me these messages—so there is a mutual understanding that using ReplyASAP is only for important things and not because he needs new batteries for his Xbox controller,” Nick explains on his website.
“It is supposed to be a failsafe,” he told Metro.
Nick says that the app might catch on with communication-challenged adults too. He listed numerous possible scenarios in which it could be useful, such as locating a missing phone, contacting a friend at the bar to change your drink order, or contacting coworkers in tricky work situations, reported Fox.
Nick explained he met with a few hurdles along the way. For instance, in order for the app to work, both phones need to have it installed. While Android version of the app works, an iOS version of the app is still being developed.
Ironically, his son owns an iOS phone, so Nick is not yet able to arrest his son’s attention, so he’s definitely keen to get the iOS app working. The android app took Nick eight months to build—with much tinkering and expense, he said.
Nick’s humorous advertisement for this app jokes that the app is free for kids, “Only the parent pays, they then gift it to the child,” says the ReplyASAP Facebook page.
You can download the android ReplyASAP app here.