These days it’s rare to see someone without a mobile phone glued to their hand.
Whether they’re on social media or Whatsapping with friends, it’s not often people look up from their screen – not even to interact with their loved ones.
So one frustrated parent has come up with a clever solution to ensure that children use their technology to communicate with their parents, especially in an emergency.
Tech whiz Nick Herbert, from West Wickham, has created an app which forces kids to reply to a text or phone call from their mum or dad immediately.
Called ReplyASAP, the app ‘takes over’ a person’s phone until they have responded to a message they’ve been sent via the app.
The message appears on the screen and stays there until it is responded to, it also makes a lot of noise – and the noise will continue until you interact with the message, even if the phone is on silent.
The app first launched in August 2017 and has been downloaded more than 70,000 times since then.
It’s currently only available on Android, but an IOS version is in the works and coming soon.
Explaining his creation on his website, Nick said: “This app was born out of personal frustrations with current messaging apps.
“I have a son, Ben, who is at secondary school. When he started school I bought him a smart phone so that I could contact him and he could contact me (obviously not while at school).”
However Nick’s “solution” soon turned into a “problem” as Ben began playing video games and watching videos on his phone.
He went on to explain that because Ben doesn’t want his dad to know what he’s doing, he keeps his phone on silent, and thus often misses calls and messages.
So he decided to make ReplyASAP.
“During the development process I spoke to Ben and showed him the designs and thinking behind the app and he likes the idea because he will know that if he gets one of these messages then he will always hear it and will know it’s important,” he continued.
“He will also have the ability to send me these messages – so there is mutual understanding that using ReplyASAP is only for important things and not because he needs new batteries for his Xbox controller.”
The app is available to download now for free, but parents can unlock more functions via in-app purchases.
Messages can only be sent to other people who have the app and there is a one-off 99p charge to connect with another person.