Dad invents app that locks kids’ phones until they message their parents back Jasper HamillFriday 30 Aug 2019 12:00 pm Share this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link43.6kShares Nick Herbert and his son Ben (Photo: Nick Herbert/ SWNS.COM)A British dad has invented an app that locks kids’ phone screens until they respond to their parents’ messages. Nick Herbert, 47, was so frustrated with son Ben, 15, ignoring his texts that he took matters into his own hands. The project manager invented an app that ‘hijacks’ his son’s phone by locking the screen, stopping him from doing anything until he reads the message. It sounds an alarm until the child reads it – even if their phone is on silent – then pings back a message to the parent, informing them the kid has read the message. The child can also send the same urgent messages back to their parents or guardians. Divorced dad-of-one Nick from Bromley, London, made RespondASAP available for other parents, and said more than 2,500 have downloaded the 99p app since it launched two years ago.


Nick said: ‘I came up with the idea when Ben first went to secondary school. Advertisementif(window.adverts) { adverts.addToArray({"pos": "mpu_mobile_top"}) } Advertisementif(window.adverts) { adverts.addToArray({"pos": "mpu_tablet"}) } ‘I was getting frustrated that Ben wouldn’t respond to my texts, by swiping them off to the side while he watched videos, or keeping his phone on silent. ‘In some cases, I found that Ben was just ignoring me in front of his friends. ‘So I decided to go about building an app that would allow me to momentarily ‘takeover’ his phone when I sent texts that needed urgent answers. RespondASAP only works when a parent and their child have both downloaded it. ‘Initially, I imagined only parents would have that power to ‘hijack’ their child’s phone,’ Nick continued. ‘But when I chatted with Ben, he raised the important question of privacy and consent. He asked about situations where he might need to contact me urgently.


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