Dad Creates App That Locks Kids’ Phones Until they Message Their Parents Back

Dad Creates App That Locks Kids’ Phones Until they Message Their Parents Back

May 23, 2021 Off By Mama

Nick Herbet, a 47-year-old father and resident of the U.K., released a unique app in August 2017. Called RespondASAP, the app was designed for worried parents, and absent-minded children who are having difficulty connecting with one another. Herbert, a professional project manager, first thought of the app when he and his own son were failing to communicate.

Are You There?

When Herbet’s son Ben first went to secondary school (aka. high school) he noticed a drop off in his son’s responses to messages and texts. Frustrated, Herbert confronted his son with a lack of acknowledgment of his messages. Upon talking to Ben, Herbert found out that the teen was missing messages by having his phone on silent, watching videos (swiping them to the side), or plain ignoring them when with friends. Conferring with his son, the two mutual decided that there needed to be some way to get a hold of one another consistently with urgent messages.

On Lockdown (Temporarily!)

Initially, Herbert went to work on an app that would fill the communication need in his father-son relationship. He told the Metro paper, “‘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”. Currently, users of the app can indeed ‘hijack’ another’s phone by sending a RespondASAP message. The app also overrides silent mode to deliver an alarmed message, and provides the sender with an automatic read receipt.

During development, Herbert additionally decided to give the app a two-way installation and lockdown system to address concerns of privacy and consent. Therefore, children and parents using RespondASAP have to both install and agree to the terms of using the app. As well, children and parents can both alert one another to urgent messages and temporarily suspend phone functions. Ideally, neither person with the app sends loads of messages and reserve RespondASAP for truly urgent situations. Ben’s input on the app’s development was hugely influential to these functions.

Using RespondASAP

When you receive a message from Respond ASAP, you will only have access to a blue screen on your phone. In the screen, the sent message is forefront, and options to respond are below. You may delay or ‘snooze’ your response if for some reason you can’t answer. The phone will alarm until snoozed or you start to make a response. Once a response is sent, the full phone’s function is immediately restored. (1) RespondASAP is only available for Android phones, but Herbert shares that he is working on iOS version that will come to market soon.

One App, Many Applications

Since release, Herbert and his friends have envisioned many novelty uses for the app. Most notably, RespondASAP may be able to help you find a lost phone, alert colleagues in time-sensitive work situations, or simply, change your drink order when a friend goes up to the bar. The app could be too of benefit for that friend who always seems to have their phone on silent and is unreachable!

The cost of RespondASAP starts at 99p. in the PlayStore, and is available with multi-user options, which can connect as many twenty people at once. There is no in-app or message related costs associated with RespondASAP. (2)

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