Mum creates app to stop teens from using their phones while driving

Teens worst nightmare: an app that allows parents to control their phone.
Teens worst nightmare: an app that allows parents to control their phone.  Photo: Martin Dimitrov

For a 15-year-old, being obsessed with their phone is pretty common. For a parent of a phone-obsessed teen with a drivers license, it's worrying.

When single mum, Lisa Mullins gave her two daughters aged 15 years and 12 years mobile phones, she wanted them to be able to contact her at all times.

Not long after, Lisa noticed her eldest, Madi, was obsessed.

"It was a consistent issue. She'd be up in her room on FaceTime until 2am. She'd be talking to her friends and downloading all these apps. She just would not put the phone down," Lisa Told Yahoo Parenting.

Just before leaving on a business trip, Lisa realised she would have to give back her daughter's previously confiscated phone so she could contact her.

"I realised I had to give it back to her, because I still need her to be able to get in touch with me." It was in that moment that Lisa also thought ahead to the following year, when Madi would be driving for the first time," she said.

"I could just see her, driving home from the mall, texting about how so-and-so broke up with someone, and in the instant that she wasn't focusing, hitting a tree or running over a person in front of her," said Lisa.

Over the next year, Lisa worked on developing an app that gave parents complete control over their children's phone.

"The only other things out there were to block texting and driving, but there's still so much that kids do on their phones: camera, Instagram, Internet," says Lisa.

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Creating the app, ParentBlock, parents can control their child's phone.

According to the website, the app "controls phone usage 24/7, remotely turns off selected phone features, pre-approve and manage all apps and downloads."

The app also shuts the phone down when the car exceeds 10 miles per hour (approx 15 km per hour).

While Lisa is quite pleased with the outcome her kids aren't so sure.

"My daughter will tell you, 'My phone is my life,'" says Lisa. "She will cry over it. But as long as she doesn't abuse it and put herself in a situation where she could potentially hurt herself or someone else by distracted driving, I never have to use ParentBlocker."