Dad creates app that freezes phone until child responds to messages

Nick Herbert and his son Ben.
Nick Herbert and his son Ben. Photo: ReplyASAP / Twitter

As a parent, giving your child a smartphone is supposed to provide increased security and peace of mind. If band is cancelled, your kid can let you know. If you're going to be late home or have forgotten to tell them something important, you can do so.

Seems simple, right? That is until you actually try to contact them and your texts and calls go unanswered, and you're left frustrated and worried sick.

It turns out your child sees that phone as a direct line to their peers and many feel no obligation whatsoever to respond to contact from parents, despite pleas and family discussions about it.

Well fear not. There's now an app for this very scenario. It's called ReplyASAP and it temporarily freezes phone functions until the message is answered by the child. 

The ingenious app was created in 2017 by British dad, Nick Herbert, who wanted a solution to his teenage son Ben's constant failure to respond to important messages.

Herbert told WISTV: "ReplyASAP makes messages unmissable between people that matter since, important messages shouldn't be missed."

Like other common methods of discipline, the app uses the child's 'currency' - something that's desirable to them - to motivate them towards the preferred behaviour. In this case, the currency is access to their phone.

And if being momentarily locked out isn't sufficient, the parent can activate a loud, embarrassing alarm. Watch the video to see it in action.

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While it's not a blanket solution for kids intent on not being contacted - they can just switch off the phone - and could have the potential for misuse in certain situations, it is an opportunity for learning about responsibility.

Kids who have the privilege of having a phone need to learn early about the obligation to respond to important messages - it's a fact of life that's not going to go away.

We'd say that with only a few 'alarming' situations with the ReplyASAP app, they'll soon get in the swing of replying to parents and sorting out which messages are actually important.

According to the ReplyASAP facebook page facebook page, the software has been downloaded over 100,000 times since going live.

It's currently available for Android devices, with an iOS version soon to be released.