Dad and daughter's social media deal gets the job done in a hilarious way

Bradley Herbst, dressed in his daily costumes, with daughter Sydney.
Bradley Herbst, dressed in his daily costumes, with daughter Sydney.  Photo: Facebook/Bradley Herbst

If you've tried to have a conversation with a teenager lately, you might understand this dad's extreme measures to get his daughter to put her phone down. He's using the one deterrent that is kryptonite to teens: embarrassment.

US dad Bradley Herbst came up with the rule that whenever he drove his 14-year-old daughter Sydney to or from school, she wasn't allowed to use her phone. And the looming punishment if she broke that rule? Bradley promised to walk her into school dressed in whatever outrageous costume he happened to be wearing that morning.

That's right. For the morning school run, Bradley dresses up as anything or anyone, from Michael Phelps to Richard Simmons to a secret service agent and a stripper - he really does seem to have a huge collection of costumes. And every day he's ready to get out of the car if he needs to.

Bradley shares a few photos each morning on Facebook, where they have become a viral hit.

Bradley as Madonna and Rick James with his kids. Source: Facebook

Bradley told Today that he had the idea when he realised Sydney was embarrassed by his regular clothes. "One morning she was being a typical teenager and said, 'You cannot wear that to school' and all it was was shorts and a t-shirt."

So Bradley has found his daughter's Achilles heel, and now they spend car rides to and from school talking about what's going on at school and at home. And Sydney has never been tempted to pull out her phone.

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"I have never had my phone on," she says. "Ever!"

"We routinely have family game night where we play board games and cards," Bradley told Babble. "There are no electronics at the dinner table either."

And this push to get children off their devices, even if it's for a few minutes on the ride to school, is important. Over exposure to screen time can lead to children finding it difficult to function in their 'real' lives - as reported by The Standard-Times, "This includes the ability to make friends in person, take responsibility for actions, display good manners, use polite language, control emotions and temper, follow verbal directions, and develop empathy for others."

That's something that Bradley is determined won't happen to Sydney. And although Sydney protests and pulls her best sullen teen face for all the photos, she admits she secretly loves what her dad gets up to.

"I hate to say it, but I do," she laughs.