149 Responses to Mom Invents App to Disable Kids’ Phones if They Don’t Answer When She Calls

  1. Warren August 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    Absolutely pathetic. If you cannot trust your kid enough, that you need to do this.
    1. You failed as a parent.
    2. Your kid has not earned the right to be off on their own.

  2. Maggie August 17, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    What’s to stop a kid from turning the tables on Mom, and setting up the app to disable HER phone? Frankly, most kids are better at this than their parents.

  3. Scott August 17, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

    A friend posted this with a note that she’s getting it for her daughter’s phoone. I posted a “free range” response. She came back at me that she knows about the crime stars, as her husband works for the FBI. She does let her daughter come home alone afterschool. However, she pointed out that she handed her daughter a $700 phone and there were expectations that went with the priviledge. One was check when she gets home (not so free range), but after snack, there is homework and chores to do. The check in calls come rarely and there’s more phone playing than homework and chores. Since they have no home phone, taking the phone away while mom’s not home isn’t an option, in case something does go wrong (fires do happen). So, Mom’s rational isn’t for helecoptering, but for enforcing rules and teaching responsibility. I guess I can’t argue with that, too much. I did message back, however, that we know that most of the parents will use it to exert unnecessary, helicopter control.

  4. Patti Jo August 17, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

    Why shouldn’t a parent be able to disable their child’s phone for whatever reason they want? If I’m paying for the phone and the child won’t take my calls I would disable it and/or take it away. It doesn’t have anything to do with free range or not, but respect for a parent and a respect for family rules. But then my children, age 8 and 6, know they will not have a cell phone until they can pay for it themselves.

  5. carolyn August 17, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    I don’t have a huge problem with this. It is rude for the kids not to respond in a reasonable time, and this seems like a reasonable consequence. It’s not much different from simply taking there phone away. Now granted, it could be abused and ideally there would be enough respect that the child would respond appropriately without this.

  6. tz August 17, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    Is the phone the Mother’s, i.e. paid for by her or the father, or did the child buy it themselves?

    If it sickens you so much, could you please buy me a phone so I can do whatever including running up large overages while ignoring you. I doubt you would let me do so for very long.

    The idea of giving children the freedom is to teach them responsibility. That there are rules. One rule might be to return calls to the parents that supply both the phone and pay the phone bill. And that there will be consequences when the rules aren’t followed. A phone is not a right but a privilege.

    If the children have bought their own phone with their own money and are paying for their calls, texts, and data, I can’t argue with your point. But if Mom is paying the piper, mom can call the tunes. That is also something children need to learn – there is no free lunch – when you aren’t paying directly, there is likely an indirect cost.

    There are two equal but opposite errors concerning children. First, that they must be kept safe in a “padded cell” until they are 21 and not exposed to the real world. And the opposite that even if they aren’t yet mature enough, you can eject them into the world and expect them always to do the right thing, or that they won’t be harmed in the process of learning.

    If it is the kid’s phone (as in they paid for it themselves), Mom won’t be able to install her app. If it is Mom’s phone given to the kids, she has the absolute right to impose whatever conditions she wants.

    Even if kids are trustworthy, there are evildoers. The kid may have earned probation to be on their own – but that they must accept or return Mom’s calls.

    Have you actually read the terms and conditions that you clicked “I agree too?”.

  7. Emily August 17, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    One thing that people haven’t mentioned–regardless of who bought the phone with whose money, or the maturity level of the individual who’s using it, there are times and places where using a cell phone, or even keeping one turned on, is rude. Just off the top of my head, I can think of several–live performances, movies, worship services, weddings, funerals, school, work, courtrooms, yoga class (I teach yoga, and I don’t allow phones to be on in my class), the quiet section of any library, and that’s just what I could think of right now; I’m sure there are several others. So, in any of those cases, it would be wrong to punish a teenager for not answering their phone, if they were doing so in the context of observing proper cell phone etiquette. A lot of this is just about communication, though, because a lot of parents require their teenagers to give them at least a basic itinerary before leaving the house. So, if the young person’s plans included a movie, play, concert, worship service, yoga class, visit to the library, or any other place where it’d be rude to keep their phone on, the parent would know not to call during that time, and the whole thing would be averted.

  8. Bose in St. Peter MN August 17, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Note that:

    * A kid who is not answering because of unlikely yet truly terrible events (kidnapping, waking after 24 hours pinned in a hidden car crash) will be out of luck.

    * A kid whose phone has been disabled once, or taken the threat seriously (or even, just doesn’t want parents combing through their text/call history) will pick up a cheap burner phone as backup, leaving the parents’ numbers off of it.

    * A kid who is feeling manipulated over phone access is less, not more, to make an effort to stay in touch.

    * A college kid who is learning independence, determined to solve her own problems without broadcasting them through the family tree or expecting parental helicoptering, is likely advancing into adulthood just fine.

  9. ValerieH August 17, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    We have a wireline phone. I’m not experienced with mobile phones for kids yet. I have 3 kids 14, 11, 9. We just turned on 1 spare phone for whatever kid if visiting a friend’s house or going on a field trip. It is a completely dumb flip phone. I turned off the internet access at the carrier because I don’t want to buy a data plan. I wonder if that might be an option? If the kids doesn’t follow the rules but you need a phone at home, what about the swapping it with the cheapest dumbest feature free phone? We’re using it as training wheels. If they lose or damage it, it’s cheap to replace.

  10. Barbara August 17, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    I just asked my 12 y/o son his opinion. He told me he feels if a kid isn’t answering his parents then they have every right to shut it off. He said, that’s the rules of having a phone, if a parent calls, you answer! I am more than a “free range” parent. I call myself a throwback parent. My kids have all the freedom in the world, just like we did when we were kids (I’m in my 50’s). As long as they follow the rules..ie, like calling, letting me know where they are and getting home on time, they’re free…as it should be. It’s all about teaching your kids the respect the world, including parents’ rules.

  11. marie August 17, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

    “It takes away the texting, it takes away the gaming…”

    So does taking away the phone!

    She wanted the app because her kid didn’t answer her phone calls or her texts. THAT’s the nutty part. So what if you can’t reach your kid on the phone? The idea that we should be in constant contact with our children IS helicoptering.

    When nobody had cell phones (honestly, not that long ago), we were accustomed to talking to someone LATER.

  12. Warren August 17, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

    Whatever happened to Dad sitting the kid down, and saying,”Listen, you know your mom starts to worry when you don’t call back quickly, so put some more effort into it.”

    No now Major Mom can just flip a switch to cut you off. Contolling at it’s worst.

    Military police, mountain climber turned app inventor of locking kids phones. All three indicate the need for control.

  13. Maribel August 17, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

    Back when we didn’t have cell phones, moms were at home in the same neighborhood where the kids went to school. Today, mom and dad work, often many miles away and children are sometimes bussed out of their own neighborhoods. I am grateful that I get received texts from my son after school so he can tell me where he is headed without me having to leave a meeting at work. As for the controls, I can turn his data and block certain numbers as a way of “grounding” him for not following rules but he still has the phone so he can contact family. It is great and not a form of helicopter parenting at all.

  14. Emily August 17, 2014 at 11:52 pm #

    P.S., I forgot museums, art galleries, arboretums/public gardens, and golf courses, in my list of places where cell phone use is rude and disruptive and ruins the experience for other participants. My point is, I was raised in a different kind of family, where being constantly plugged into a cell phone isn’t encouraged. My parents have cell phones, but they’re for their convenience only, so they can’t necessarily be reached that way. They have iPhones now, and they know how to text, but before that, they pretty much just used their cell phones for outgoing calls. So, when my brother and I got cell phones (summer before second year of university for me; not sure when my brother got his), they didn’t have the expectation that we’d be available 24/7 either. When we were younger, they’d sometimes lend us their cell phones if we were going out at night or something, and they’d expect us to be reachable in that case, but even then, they still wouldn’t expect us to answer immediately if they knew that we were going to, say, the movies.

  15. Sparsile August 17, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    I agree with Patti Jo. This is not really a free range issue, but rather a respect for parents issue. Some people seem to think that free range means giving up parental oversight. Not true! Raising kids that can function in the adult world means that parents teach them respect for others and stamp out the sense of entitlement that many kids seem to have. If the parents paid for the phone, they can do whatever they want with it.

  16. Emily August 18, 2014 at 12:01 am #

    @Sparsile–Yes, the parents may be able to do whatever they want with the phone, if they paid for it, but what if the kid turns around and says, “No thanks, I don’t want a cell phone if you’re going to use it to control me?” What if the kid goes out and buys his or her own phone? If the parent has total control over his or her child’s phone, and also makes the ownership and use of that phone mandatory, then it becomes little more than a tracking device with music and Candy Crush on it.

  17. SOA August 18, 2014 at 12:15 am #

    I think it would be better to find out why your kid did not answer before shutting it off. They may have had a good reason like they were in the movie or driving or talking to another adult in the middle of a conversation or sleeping or in the shower or did not hear it, etc. Plenty of reasons why.

    I bought a pager with my own money when I was in high school (that dates me doesn’t it?). Out of courtesy I gave my mother the number and told her she could use it to get in touch with me if necessary. Well sometimes I would not get the page until an hour after she paged me due to backups on the tower. Usually happened around rush hour every day. The first time that happened when I finally got it and called her back, she had the balls to give me attitude about it. I explained to her I had just got the page and secondly I did not even have to give her the number. I bought it with MY money. I was trying to be the good kid by giving her the number so she could reach me and she had the balls to bitch to me about not responding immediately? Heck no.

    She realized after I said that that she was in the wrong and apologized and never did it again. It comes down to if you trust your kid to be out unsupervised then you don’t need them to answer the phone every time you call. If you don’t trust them, then don’t let them leave the house in the first place.

  18. Warren August 18, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    Patti Jo, Sparsile

    You have got to be kidding. This mom having the control to just lock out her kid’s phone, because she feels however many minutes is too long to not respond, is not about teaching respect, at all. Even more so, because said controlling mom has no idea what her kid is doing at the time.
    This is nothing more than mom being in control, and being petty enough to lock out the phone at the touch of a button.
    How is this teaching respect when mom is acting like a spoiled brat. Yes a spoiled brat. You did not call back in fifteen minutes so there, lock out.

    Like I said, look at moms proud history, all of which screams control issues.

  19. Caiti August 18, 2014 at 12:44 am #

    I agree that this is manipulation. I have several matter manipulators in my family, all of whom wield quite a bit of power since nobody wants to face the consequences of inviting their wrath. They are all skilled at making their manipulative “deals” appear reasonable to people outside of the family who don’t understand the dynamics. This app smacks of a desire to control while appearing to others as a tool for a concerned parent. But it really seems unnecessary, can’t you immediately turn off service to the phone by contacting the carrier?

  20. Caiti August 18, 2014 at 12:45 am #

    Master manipulators, not matter manipulators, sorry

  21. J.T. Wenting August 18, 2014 at 12:47 am #

    this would maybe teach the kids that if you get something for free there’s consequences attached.
    That’s a great lesson to learn, one kids seem to not learn any longer.

    Sure, taking the phone away completely is a better option, but this will do as a temporary measure until that can be done, or can it be locked out for like 10 minutes and then reenable itself? Now that’d be a nice touch.
    Kid ignores mom and dad because he’s too busy playing angry bird, phone locks itself making him lose the game. Far more serious punishment for most modern kiddos than mom threatening to take their phones away because they know if they scream and whine a bit (especially in the supermarket) they’ll get anything they want because the parents are mortally afraid someone will call the cops and they (the parents) get arrested on suspicion of child abuse (because after all, any screaming child MUST be abused or they’d not scream, right?).

  22. hineata August 18, 2014 at 12:56 am #

    Only one thing bothers me about this app, and that is Bradley – he looks at least 18, far too old to be under that much control from Mum.

    I would definitely use this app with my two girls, if I can get hold of it. I pay for the phone bill, and all I ask is two things:
    1/that the phone goes off in the evening after 10pm, and
    2/that they answer when I ring them, which is only to check where they are when they want picking up, or when we are leaving, say, the mall.

    It really gets my goat when they pay no attention to my calls, because it holds me up. It has nothing at all to do with safety, everything to do with convenience. I drive the car, and I have other things to do but wait for over-privileged teens to bother answering their phones. A few goes with this and I’m sure they’d get the message.

    Boy, however, is way too old for this type of nonsense. Besides, if he doesn’t answer his phone, he makes his own way home…

  23. hineata August 18, 2014 at 1:19 am #

    @Warren – while I do think the US overplays pride in its military, and I definitely think Bradley is too old to have his phone controlled – he should be paying for it himself, anyway, by his age – what is wrong with a woman being proud of her achievements? She sounds like she’s done a lot with her time, and good on her.

    Some of us might think (as I do) that the second Iraq war was an absolute travesty visited on the Iraqi people, but that was the Bush government’s fault, not the fault of individual soldiers who are simply doing the job they’ve been instructed to do, and in rather trying circumstances.

  24. gap.runner August 18, 2014 at 3:39 am #

    Bradley in the video looks like he’s over 18 and therefore an adult. If he still requires helicoptering at that age, there is something wrong. It sounds like this app is about the mother not being able to let go of her adult son.

    My son has a phone, but there are many times that he doesn’t answer when my husband or I call him. He has valid reasons. For example, he’s at the pool and the phone is in a locker, or he’s playing soccer with his friends and the phone is in his backpack instead of his pocket. He is generally pretty good about calling to inform us about a change in plans or if he will be home late. He has had his phone and other electronics taken away when he came home late and didn’t inform either my husband or me. Having the electronics taken away was a more effective punishment than having his phone temporarily disabled.

  25. Emily August 18, 2014 at 3:48 am #

    Given the scenarios presented, it would seem the problems arise from the patent child relationship and not with the phone. If that relationship is based on manipulation, threats, and retaliation there is a very good chance your kid will ignore their patents’ calls. Building a strong healthy elationship from birth based on trust and consequences is better than responding heavy handedly retroactively. Turning off the phone remotely deals with the phone – not the kid.

  26. Suzanne August 18, 2014 at 6:37 am #

    I think like so many questionable parenting tools featured on this blog that it is not about the tool but how it is used and the parental expectations set. Like others have said, if it is used to enforce reasonable house rules, then this could be a useful app for some families but I think we can all see the way that it could be abused too.

  27. Andrew August 18, 2014 at 6:45 am #

    I’m not viewed the viedo, but if app still allows emergency calls (911 or 999 or equivalent) or to phone the parent back (when the child is able to do so, if they are in a library or other quiet place) then I don’t have much of a problem with this.

    My reaction would be different if the app turns the phone into a brick (temporarily or otherwise).

  28. Donna August 18, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    So your kid is not calling you back right away and your response is to lock the phone so that they can’t call you back? WTF? You are still not closer to getting whatever answer you needed from your child!

    It is obvious that she is not worried about their safety (or the last thing she would want is the phone locked down); she is just pissed that they aren’t responding to her at that moment. Seems like the reasonable response is to just take away the phone or some other apt form of consequence when they get home.

  29. Warren August 18, 2014 at 8:31 am #


    Please do not put words in my mouth. I support our military personnel and the US military personnel. Always have always will.

    My point is that this lady was a cop, military cop, still a cop, a mountain climber, and now created an app to gain control of her kids phone. At a quick glance this all screams a need of control. And this is exactly what this app is. Control and nothing more.

  30. lollipoplover August 18, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    If you need this app, your child is not mature enough for a cellphone.

  31. E August 18, 2014 at 8:40 am #

    Yeah, I’m with Donna — if you want/need to reach your child, what does turning it off accomplish?

    This comes down to WHY the kid isn’t answering. If this is a matter of a kid willfully, purposefully and repeatedly ignoring his parents, then I presume you just take the phone away (presuming that’s the cost of that privilege) whenever they show back up at home.

    I have 2 kids, both college age. One is constantly attached to his phone, the other has a much more relaxed attitude about it. His phone broke his freshman year in college and he went a few months with either no phone or an old one that barely kept a charge. I was thrilled he didn’t “need” it that much.

    So for me, when that kid doesn’t answer his phone, I’m almost relieved he’s not constantly got his nose in it. I have no reason to believe he’s “ignoring” me — that’s a completely different issue that shouldn’t be an ongoing thing that is dealt with by periodically disabling their phone?

    BTW – my carrier (Verizon) allows you to disable the phone from their website. It’s available for when you lose or misplace your phone so no one else can use it (and can be reactivated if you find it). If you have a situation of abuse of having a phone and your kid is not living at home, you can always use that and you don’t even need an “app”.

  32. E August 18, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    BTW – the best (and funniest) advice I got as a parent of a college freshman to get them to check in (although the university said your kids not calling all the time is a GOOD sign, of course) was to send them a handwritten letter vie regular mail. Include a note saying how happy you were about their successful college year and how you’ve enclosed $50 for all their hard work. EXCEPT, don’t put the $50 in the letter. Guaranteed to get them to call home asap. LOL.

    But seriously, it appears the app is set up for ongoing issues like this. Which seems completely ridiculous.

  33. anonymous August 18, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Whats to stop a stalker from using this on their victim!

  34. gpo August 18, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    Not returning phone calls or texts goes with along not following my rules. If you don’t follow my rules I can make your life a living hell. I don’t need an app for that one. You get one or two chances with me and then life isn’t fun. My children know there are consequences in life. They learned that from an early age. Basically I don’t have much trouble with them and I often joke with them how I can’t wait until they leave my house. My sole goal with my children is to have them be independent enough to support themselves.

  35. E August 18, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    @anonymous, interesting questions about how it could/would work as not intended.

    I took a look a the google play store just to see how much it was ($1.99) and noticed in the comments that it seems to render the security code on the “target” phone unusable and some kid already figured out that as long as you list someone in the ICE group, they can be used even when the phone is in ‘shutdown’ mode.

  36. G. August 18, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    What’s to stop anyone who knows your number from doing this to you out of spite? One of my uncles would surely use this on his ex wife, and ADULT daughter who sided with her in the divorce, and his older sister who fought him for custody of my late grandmother when she was dying and declared incompetent. Hard to communicate with your lawyer and handle oh, say, a custody case when your ex disables your cell. Likewise, spiteful immature people of all ages doing this to anyone who upsets them if they know the phone number. The abuse potential having nothing to do with children is staggering.

  37. Jen (P.) August 18, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    My mom linked on Facebook to a story about this app with a note to my mother in law that they should install it on my husband’s and my phones so we wouldn’t be able to ignore them. Of course, my mother in law would never be able to set it up without my husband’s help, so . . . . 😀

  38. E August 18, 2014 at 9:46 am #

    For those that are concerned there is something that would need to be installed on the “target” phone, it’s not like you can just control some random phone.

  39. Dirk. August 18, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    Not answering the phone or returning calls is rude. Kids who do this are rude. They are always within reach of their phones. It is the same as not answering their names at the dinner table.

  40. Jen (P.) August 18, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    @Donna – Maybe I misunderstood, but I think the kid could still call the parents (or 911 or any of another list of approved numbers). I don’t think it “bricks” the phone.

    For what it’s worth, as the parent of a teen and an almost teen who don’t always answer as quickly as I’d like, I can sort of see the appeal of this. However, I’ve noticed that when my kids don’t respond, it’s not because they were busy doing something else with their phones; rather, it’s because they were busy doing something else entirely and didn’t realize I had called or texted. They’re not deliberately ignoring me, and I have no desire to punish them for not being glued to their phones.

    That said, I guess maybe you could use it as a way to alert them they need to contact you. For instance, one problem I’ve had is that my 15 yo turns her phone OFF when she goes into a movie; she doesn’t just switch it to vibrate. Then she often forgets to turn it back on when the movie ends, and even when she does, if I’ve texted her, I’m one of who knows how many people who has, so my notification might be far down the list and there’s a good chance she’ll miss it. I guess you could use the app as a way of making the parent’s notification take priority over others. Or maybe there’s some other way to do that I just haven’t figured out yet.

  41. E August 18, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    @Dirk — I have a college aged kid who is NOT glued to his phone. I don’t want to create a situation with him (since his life does NOT revolve around his phone) that forces him to have it on his person at all times.

    I do think the convenience of having mobile phones has create situations where decisions are made “real time” (instead of like when we were kids, agreeing to times/places/people in advance) and then if you can’t reach them, it is frustrating. We’ve just adopted the practice that everything is decided in advance, minimizing the reason to have to contact them at all. It doesn’t always work that way, but that’s the goal.

  42. Derek Briley Sr August 18, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    My Daughter pays her her phone.
    She is on my plan.
    She pays more than the fee for a secondary phone plan.
    If she has an issue with it, she can get her on plan and pay more.
    Now, I have two wonderful kids and I do believe it is in the painting.
    #1 I do not go through her phone.
    #2 I have given her the tools she is required to know right from wrong and needs to learn to make good decisions.
    #3 I do not take her phone from her when she is being punished. simply tell her to turn it off until told otherwise. And she does.
    #4 Now when she has the phone in her face 24/7 and don’t take my calls or return my text. Damn good app my dear and thank you very much.

    To the one that replied about parenting You obviously know nothing about parenting

  43. CrazyCatLady August 18, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Scott, if the family has no land line, and they expect the phone to be used for emergency calls, what is accomplished by shutting it off? I don’t quiet get that one. Good for you standing up for free range principles!

    Overall, I see times beyond what is listed when it is rude for parents to expect the kid to answer immediately. Like, for younger kids, if they are on the phone getting help or clarification on homework, or even on the phone with Grandma or other family member. Older teens may have a job, and if they are on the phone with their boss they shouldn’t be expected to drop that call and answer Mom or Dad. And then there is the fact that the older teen may be driving and not able to immediately pull over. (I have a stretch of road like that – there is a sidewalk but no area that a car can pull into that would be out of traffic except for someone’s driveway…which may lead to the cops being called for being male pulling into a driveway…) Most states it is illegal to be looking at that text or answering the phone while driving unless you have hands free options.

    The same respect and courtesy that adults expect when on the phone should be given to kids whom parents feel are old enough to have a phone.

  44. Warren August 18, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    I am assuming your last statement is directed at me.

    Controlling and exerting power in the way this app is set up, is not parenting at all. It is all about control, and entitlement.
    The parent believes that their call must be answered withing a set amount of time. If not…….bam I am locking you out.
    There is nothing in that that speaks to parenting one bit. It speaks to control and manipulation.

    If your kid does not get back to you in your oh so precious time limit, sucks to be you. Why not update the app to provide a count down to lockout, to further itimidate your kid.

  45. lollipoplover August 18, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    My oldest has a phone but isn’t tied to it. If I can’t reach him its usually because his battery died.
    I don’t HAVE to reach him at all times as he could use a break from me and me from him. I won’t tether my kids to the phone like its a controlling invisible leash they must talk to.

  46. Jen (P.) August 18, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    “Controlling and exerting power in the way this app is set up, is not parenting at all. It is all about control, and entitlement.” . . . I agree that’s how it’s been presented, but I can also see how a parent might use this in a less vindictive and more productive way. As I mentioned above, my kids (well one of them at least) are not always glued to their phones, and sometimes they miss calls or texts from us in the barrage of notifications they get from their friends. It would be nice if notifications from their dad and me could be bumped up and stay at the top of the list. And if the app prevents the kid from doing anything else with the phone until he/she returns the parent’s message, then it could be used to accomplish that purpose – i.e., making sure they know the parent called/texted.

  47. Warren August 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    It is called ringtones. I have numerous numbers on my contacts for business. Each supplier, the shop, family and some friends all have specific ringtones. This way when I am busy, I can choose just by the ring which are a priority and which are not.
    For example if I am waiting for an important call from a supplier, I can choose to ignore the rest, until I get the call I want.

    I also have voice notification. Which goes “You have an incoming call/message from——–“.

    Those are much better than having someone lock you out, because they feel they are the center of the universe.

  48. JP Merzetti August 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    You are what you talk, text, tweet.
    (my life as an avatar)
    Ray Bradbury’s man who murdered his house finally tore off his Dick Tracy wristwatch and illicitly enjoyed his newfound freedom. Hysterical.
    (And that was 60 years ago.)
    People get awful funny when in thrall to their teckie toys.
    A phone used to be a useful tool. We used it.
    Now it uses us.
    (and often enough, against our better judgements)

    Disabling the device that presents communication opportunities is sort of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
    (Who is the adult here, anyhow?)
    My goodness, how we now wrestle with technology.
    And who pays what for whom and how and why.
    The new improved corporate family. With all the attendant hierachies and infrastructures.
    I spy with my little eye. It’s all wooly bully world.
    Silly humans.

    I did like the idea pointed out though…..that there are many life situations where phone play is not allowed (thank the stars!) so this in itself defeats the purpose of ubiquitous prying.
    Something that is indeed, good for kids, in spite of themselves.
    Phone “ettiquette” is almost a contradiction in terms.

    Punishment: the last resort for the unimaginative.
    Lord save us from ourselves.

  49. SteveS August 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    One of the results of living with so many cell phones is the expectation that everyone be instantly available at all times. Occasionally, I will get an irate message from someone that is asking why I didn’t pick up the phone when they called or they just keep calling over and over. In every single case, there was a good reason. Either I didn’t know they were calling (spotty tower coverage) or I was somewhere where I could not answer (such as in court or a meeting).

    I expect my kids to answer the phone, but I accept the fact that there may be a valid reason for them not answering. This happened with my daughter. We have her a phone this past year and there was a time when she didn’t answer. It turns out that she had plugged it in to recharge and had left it on vibrate and did not realize someone was calling. We explained that it is her responsibility to make sure that she can hear/feel her phone and that there will be consequences if it happens again. It hasn’t.

    I’ll pass on this app. I think it is completely unnecessary.

  50. pentamom August 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    It depends how it’s used. If it’s used as a zero-tolerance, immediate “If you don’t respond in 30 minutes the phone gets locked” thing — bad.

    If it’s used as a threat of last resort, with the terms clearly laid out in advance, and reasonably set (e.g. the third occasion on which you don’t answer the phone or text back within half an hour without good excuses for the previous two times, bingo), I have no problem with this. Yes, the option of taking away the phone exists, and is simpler, but this is simply another way of doing that, and I don’t see why it is any worse.

    It’s bad if it’s another way of over-controlling, or of controlling without being willing to talk to your kids and deal with things instead of just playing power games with their technology, but if it’s it just another technological variant on taking the phone away under reasonable terms, it’s neutral.

  51. E August 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    I agree with Warren in that you don’t need an app to take care of managing a phone. If you can’t use the ring tones he’s suggested (or the kid had to silence a phone due to being in an office or classroom), can’t you just tell the kid they MUST look at their missed calls and texts? I can’t imagine that excuse is going to hold water more than once right?

    Then again, maybe I don’t call/text my kids as much as others. For the ones that live with me (or while they are home from school), what can possibly change that much between when they leave for work or a social engagement that would require this type of “penalty” for not getting back to me?

    If I text my kids “I’m going to the grocery store, do you want anything specific?” it’s no big deal if they don’t get back to me. If they are leaving the house for the evening, we make sure we know if they are coming home (or spending the night with a friend) and they know the curfew. Why do I need to talk to them again?

    I’m not saying I’ve never been frustrated, but that’s completely my own impatience, not any real life need.

  52. Maggie in VA August 18, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    I don’t know, this doesn’t bother me so much. If I’m paying for the phone, and I’m doing it primarily to allow my husband and me to stay in contact with our kids, they need to answer our calls or texts. Now, full disclosure: both my kids are too young to have a phone yet, and one of my kids has neurobehavioral issues that may well be diagnosed as Oppositional Defiant Disorder when the time comes. I can already see this is a problem if the same technology is in use. Agree, since the app allows emergency calls and calls to user-designated numbers, I don’t see it as a safety issue.

  53. J- August 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Reporter: “So how does her son feel about the idea?”
    Bradley: “My mom’s a bitch.”
    Reporter: “Cut feed! Ok, Bradley, let’s try that agin, this time try and be more supportive.”
    Bradley: “I thought it was a good idea. But… for other people, not me.”
    Reporter: “I guess thats the best were gonna do here.”

  54. Maggie in VA August 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Oh, and Warren, parents of special needs kids may have to do all kinds of things that you might find pathetic. But a lot of kids you think are just “bad” — do you really think the mom who invented this software was some kind of slacker who let her kids go wild? — have borderline or undiagnosed neurobehavioral problems.

  55. Jen (P.) August 18, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    Warren – I’m familiar with ringtones/text tones and have my own phone set up that way. The problem I’m talking about is when my kid has had her phone turned off or put away somewhere, such as when she’s at a play rehearsal, and has a dozen or more notifications when she turns it back on. I’m not aware of any way to ensure mine are pushed to the top; I think they show up in reverse chrono order. Also, my kids tend to keep their phones on vibrate because they get so many notifications, so setting up different ringtones is of limited value there.

  56. NJ Mom August 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    I think this app is the technology equivalent of a slap in the face. Scenario: You (child of mine) don’t do exactly as I want, when I want it, then…I slap your face, ground you, scream at you, take away some other privilege…instantly. Emotional, knee jerk reaction. Children/teens can be rude, lazy and disrespectful (just like adults for that matter). It’s up to the adult to behave maturely in the face of childishness. Simply put, if your child/teen does not follow your cell phone/communication rules, you have a conversation or two which involves lots of listening on your part. Then you explain the rules and consequences again–all without whining or taking their disrespect personally–then follow through with the consquences. One might say that this app can be considered the consequence. Yet, its not a very good one because it disables the phone instantly without any connection to the child. There’s no, “Ok, what happened, you didn’t answer the phone again. Hmm, not such a good answer…ok, Jim/Jan give me the phone please.” (If things get really disrespectful re the phone, then perhaps it’s time to take away the phone for quite a while–meaning no need for that app anyway; clearly the child can’t handle it.) This app let’s the parent punish, rather than connecting and disciplining. Which makes me think of a slap in the face.

    Here’s what my two teens said. Teen A: “What? OMG…that’s insane; parents are crazy.” Teen B: “Wait, what? Why would you turn off your child’s phone if you want to talk to your child? Maybe they can’t get to the phone or it’s dead or something. This app is like shooting yourself in the foot, if you ask me.”

  57. Nadine August 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    I hardly ever pick up the phone when my parents call… Thats why there is texting.

    But seriously…. To be away from parents without a means to communicate is also something that needs to be learned. An cellphone isnt needed most of the time and its time for moms to realize that they need to learn to deal with their own fears without acting them out on their kids.

  58. E August 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    @Maggie — I don’t think anyone’s comments here are expected to be applied to 100% of every situation. If we’re talking special needs, there’s no way any of us to judge what works and doesn’t and comment on it (unless it’s our own child). But the news story, nor the product’s webpage indicates this is designed for special needs people.

    @Jen, I’m not sure how kids can get away with claiming they didn’t see your call text because they’ve had an influx of friends on top of the list. That’s just an excuse. How difficult is it for them to scroll all the way down. Phones will say “X missed calls” so it’s telling them exactly what they missed…unread texts have a little indicator.

    If we call/text our kids so frequently that our kids get tone deaf about it, we’re probably doing it wrong anyway.

  59. Donna August 18, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    This app exhibits the main problem with society today – demand for instant gratification. Just because you call me at a certain time doesn’t mean that I have to want to talk to you at that time. I may be busy doing something else. I may just not want to talk on the phone at that time. I may just not want to talk to you at that time. The fact that I have a cell phone does not mandate that I have to talk on your schedule.

    I agree that with children it is slightly different – there may be info you need, like hineata’s example for when the kid is expecting a ride. But, ultimately, if you tell your kid that they are free to do X until 5 and it is not yet 5, I don’t understand this demand that the kid MUST drop what s/he is doing and contact you before 5. Yes, it would be convenient if Jr. anwered your call so that he can stop and get milk on the way home rather than you havinf to run out but such is life. And if Jr. is not coming home at 5 like expected (that is why you are calling), then Jr. shouldn’t be free ranging.

  60. Lark August 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    It’s strange to me that the kind of parent who wants to shut off the kid’s phone isn’t more worried about what could happen if the kid needs a phone and it’s shut off – that was my first thought, although much less from a “the kidnappers got my child” standpoint than from a “the kid needs to make an emergency call and finds the phone dead” standpoint.

    It seems like the whole thing would just degenerate into a particularly petty power-struggle – if anything, it seems to bring the parent right down into childish tit-for-tat-level stuff.

    I find myself wondering whether it wouldn’t be better to deal with the actual missed call or text itself. Is the parent texting to tell the kid that they need to come home and the kid doesn’t want to come home? That’s the problem. Is the kid avoiding giving information that the parent needs and is entitled to (for school, for example)? Otherwise, I have a lot of trouble seeing why the kid should be expected to pick up automatically – I don’t pick up my phone unless I’m in a place where I can take a call and I want or need to take it. Maybe the kid just doesn’t want to talk to mom right that minute – and there certainly seem to be a lot of parents who call way the heck too much and whose calls are not typically about “you should come home” or “did you get your paper turned in”.

  61. Warren August 18, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    Get off your high freaking horse.
    1. Never said any kids were bad.
    2. This is not being marketed to special needs purposes. It is being marketed as a way to control your kids. So drop the bs. I am sick and tired of “special needs” always being brought up, when we are talking about normal parenting.
    3. What drugs are you on or should you be on?
    4. You are pathetic, for always making things all about you and special needs, when special needs was never mentioned.

    You have an over inflated sense of importance. What could be so all fired important that you have to lockout your kid’s phone for and embarass them in front of their friends. And don’t tell me because you’re the mom. That is a cop out.

    I grew up in a time when there was no such thing as a cellphone. Instant contact meant being in earshot of home. If they couldn’t find me, and had to absolutely go somewhere of do something…………oh my god they left a note on the fridge. You know, pen and paper, and “Hey, couldn’t find you, had to run over to Grandma’s. Give us a call there. Luv Ya, Mom.”. It was just a life of horror, dread and complete anxiety. Sheesh.

  62. pentamom August 18, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    “Otherwise, I have a lot of trouble seeing why the kid should be expected to pick up automatically – I don’t pick up my phone unless I’m in a place where I can take a call and I want or need to take it.”

    I guess I’m looking at this a little differently from others — when it comes to a parent and a minor child young enough to be told what to do about anything, this is the equivalent of “answer me when I speak to you,” given all the reasonable differences between a phone and in-person conversation, such as you might not have your phone right at hand, you might be driving, etc. A child who persistently gives no response in a reasonably timely fashion to a parent calling or texting on the phone is being disrespectful and rude. If we’re talking about parents freaking out if they don’t hear back in five minutes, that’s ridiculous. But if this is just a tool to enforce the idea that you don’t blow off your parents entirely when they try to reach you, I don’t have a problem with it.

    As far as “why do you need an app for this” — well, you don’t. And you don’t need a GPS app, and you don’t need a calendar app, and you don’t need any of the other apps on your phone. I know this because I function in modern American life with a phone that doesn’t do apps. But the existence of another way to deal with the problem doesn’t *in itself* make an app a bad thing.

  63. Warren August 18, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    Let’s see, if I really need to get a message to my kid, what do I do?

    Oh wait the same as in business, I don’t just call and expect them to see my number, and rush to get back to me. I leave an actual message on their voicemail.

  64. Warren August 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    You are confusing two totally different situations.

    Answer me when I am talking to you is respect, and expected, because the person/kid is right there infront of you.

    It does not apply to phones, because you have no idea of what is going on at that moment. You are not there.

  65. E August 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    @pentamom, the comments (from me anyway) about an app not being necessary, is because your provider allows you to disable a phone from their website. It’s not for micromanaging the way your kid uses their phone, but rather if you’ve misplaced it or it’s been stolen or lost (it can be re-activated if it’s been located).

    To me, if you want or need to reprimand your child to be more responsive (if you’ve concluded that they are purposefully and willfully ignoring you) than taking a phone away for a period would do the same thing? If the suggestion of the APP (and that’s the sense I get from the Mom/developer) allows you to toggle the service on/off, then you are by definition micromanaging them.

    When my oldest got his provisional license (only 1 other person in the car, driving curfew), I played around with the verizon service to track his phone briefly. To this day (my son is now in his 20s) he talks about that as something that really bothered him about how I expected him to do something bad. I only used it to actually track him once (he was late coming from a football game and I thought it made more sense to do that rather than trying to call him in case he was driving) and then just canceled the whole thing. But he still remembers it. Clearly I would know he was going to be late the minute he was…well..late. I didn’t need the phone to confirm it, lol.

    I’ve googled this App and there are a number of articles about it and many of them include very negative descriptors like “how to be the most unpopular Mom”, etc.

    But like many products featured here…someone is attempting to make money off this kind of control.

    BTW, apparently this isn’t “do able” on an iPhone so it’s only available for Android (based on googling).

  66. Beth August 18, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    So I’m guessing all you adults are NEVER in a situation in which it would be inappropriate, rude, or just plain not possible to answer the phone?

    Fair enough, since you’re expecting that your kids will never be in that situation either.

  67. Jessie August 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    Not only does the concept of a child turning the tables on mom come to mind, I jump to the idea of domestic violence. It’s a scary thought that someone who can exert control upon another, can disable that person’s phone.

  68. Ben August 18, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    I was never glued to my phone, but my parents knew I couldn’t go without my TV. Instead of dragging it out of my room, they just pulled the downstairs cord that connected my TV to the network.

    You don’t need an app to punish your kids. You can just take the phone away. Why I don’t think this is a good idea is two-fold:
    1) It will get abused. That son in the video looked like he was old enough to be an adult.
    2) There are way too many good reason to not answer a text or a phone call and not enough ways to find out if the kids are purposely ignoring their parents.
    3) It encourages kids to be glued to their phone, just in case mom calls.

  69. Jananiadis August 18, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    I won’t be getting this app. My job as a parent is to teach my kids how to be kind, thoughtful and productive adults. I don’t believe this is done by basically bullying them with my power to do this or that to them if they don’t do as I wish. I believe that you get what you expect. If you expect them to act respectfully, eventually they will, IF you respectfully make your expectations clear. I also believe that kids are people and due the respect that we give other people. I would never turn off the phones of my husband or best friend if they didn’t answer. It’s a crazy thought! Also, once in awhile I call my boys with a nice offer to take them to Gamestop or some other place they like to go, or to ask their opinion on something like a family vacation… If they don’t answer, they miss out and I certainly let them know about what/why they missed out.

  70. Jen (P.) August 18, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    @E – “I’m not sure how kids can get away with claiming they didn’t see your call text because they’ve had an influx of friends on top of the list. That’s just an excuse. How difficult is it for them to scroll all the way down. Phones will say “X missed calls” so it’s telling them exactly what they missed…unread texts have a little indicator.”

    You’re right that it’s an excuse, but it’s not because she’s deliberately ignoring me or even being disrespectful. I’m not the type of parent to text my daughter constantly to keep tabs on her, so her initial reaction upon seeing a long list of notifications was to assume they were from friends and not urgent (they tend to participate in several group chats that result in a lot of notifications; incidentally, she’s had friends get irritated with her for not treating those group chats with the “proper” sense of urgency). Anyway, after this happened a couple of times we discussed the fact that she needs to pay more attention and she has. It’s never been a huge problem – more of an inconvenience – and I was really just considering whether there might be a way to use an app like that in a way that would benefit all of us instead of presuming it’s entirely a bad thing.

    And Warren – “You have an over inflated sense of importance. What could be so all fired important that you have to lockout your kid’s phone for and embarass them in front of their friends. And don’t tell me because you’re the mom. That is a cop out.”

    Calm down. I never even said I’d use the app, let alone lock down my kid’s phone for something that wasn’t important. As I said, I was trying to consider whether there might be a way to use it that would be helpful to both of us. I don’t think it sets off lights and sirens or anything, so I’m not sure why it would be that embarrassing. And if there were some important reason I needed to reach her, I wouldn’t have a problem with her phone, in effect, telling her “call your mom first.”

  71. pentamom August 18, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

    “To me, if you want or need to reprimand your child to be more responsive (if you’ve concluded that they are purposefully and willfully ignoring you) than taking a phone away for a period would do the same thing? If the suggestion of the APP (and that’s the sense I get from the Mom/developer) allows you to toggle the service on/off, then you are by definition micromanaging them. ”

    If you can take the phone away, and give it back at your own discretion, you are accomplishing exactly the same thing. No, you don’t need an app to do it. But apps are by definition for things we don’t absolutely need apps for, but choose to use an app to do.

    I am not justifying micromanaging, I am simply saying that this app does nothing that taking the phone away and giving it back when you choose does.

    And by being disrespectful, I don’t mean that not instantly answering the phone is disrespectful. I mean that kids can be disrespectful by not answering the phone and that the rules for not answering your parents’ calls are not the same as not answering calls in general (i.e., “I don’t feel like talking to that person right now” does not cut it when your parents are calling.) It does not seem like an unreasonable consequence to take away a phone if the child is not using it in an appropriate, polite, and mature manner, if that child is still young enough to be disciplined concerns matters of maturity and politeness. And this is no different, *inherently,* from taking away a phone for abuse.

    That said, I agree that the thing is being marketed as a helicopterish thing, that the mom behind it seems to have helicpoterish motivations, and that I think the world would have gone on quite fine without it. I simply mean two things:

    1. Disabling a phone with an app is not inherently different from taking it away, and the fact that you don’t need an app to do what the app does has never been a good reason (in and of itself) for an app not to exist, and

    2. It is not necessarily inherently micromanaging to, by some means, deprive your child of the use of a phone, if the child is using the phone to disrespect/disobey her parents, and that lazily or defiantly not answering a parent’s call or text when the child is reasonably able to do so, is disrespectful.

  72. Jen (P.) August 18, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    Oh and Warren – “Oh wait the same as in business, I don’t just call and expect them to see my number, and rush to get back to me. I leave an actual message on their voicemail.”

    Kids hate voicemail. Depending on how this works my daughter might actually prefer it to having to listen to a voicemail message.

  73. pentamom August 18, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    “It does not apply to phones, because you have no idea of what is going on at that moment. You are not there.”

    It applies just as much, it’s just that you’re not able to judge how it applies at the moment it’s happening.

    So of course you don’t automatically cut off a kid when the kid doesn’t answer. But if the kid has a pattern of not answering for no good reason, you have a respect problem. And this is one way to address it — if you can’t do X respectfully, you’re not responsible enough to do X. Sometimes you don’t find that out until after you give the kid the privilege, and he excuses it.

  74. pentamom August 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    Sorry, that’s “abuses” not “excuses.”

  75. Ann in L.A. August 18, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    I like this one, since our kid is really hard to get in touch with. Our problem though can’t be fixed by this app. She’s not not responding out of willfulness, but, rather, because she often keeps her ringer off and isn’t constantly checking her phone for texts. We just have to wait and wait until she bothers to look at her phone.

    In the end we’re pretty much okay with her *not* constantly checking her phone–she’s off having fund with her friends, which is what we want her to do.

  76. E August 18, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    @Pentamom…at $1.99 it’s certainly not an expensive option to have available, but if you have to use it more than once, then, at least in my opinion, you are micromanaging your kid. Sure, if there is a true emergency that you need to reach your kid then this could help I guess, but honestly how often does this happen (and at that point no one cares about why they aren’t answering the phone). I can think of exactly 1 family situation where it was very important that I speak to my kid asap. I sent him a text saying “It’s important that I speak with you asap, please call me when you are able” and he called me back very quickly. I think most kids would do that, unless their parents are using that sort of thing unnecessarily.

    The reason this is distasteful to me is that it’s designed with the idea that this would be something you ‘need’ in order to get your kids to call you. You limit their ability to use their phone before you even know why they aren’t calling/responding. Taking the phone away is something you would have to do AFTER understanding why they didn’t call you.

    Anyway – I guess my takeaway is that this isn’t something I would ever think I need, which I guess give my kids (and maybe me) some credit for managing the device in a mature enough manner.

  77. E August 18, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    And to just piggy back on my last post…it seems to me that this is part of “call me back because I said so” as opposed to any real or legit NEED for a parent to speak to the kid. That can’t possibly happen very often because until about 10 year ago, this wasn’t possible. Suddenly parents have a real, legitimate reason to be in constant contact?

    My son recently went to FL with his g/f’s family for a week. He accidentally dropped his phone into the salt water while fishing on day 2. He called me from his g/f’s phone, told me what happened and that if I needed anything to call his g/f’s phone for the week (and he’d deal with a replacement when he got back). I think he texted a photo or 2 during the week he was gone, but I cannot think of a single reason why I would need to speak with him outside of a death in the family and thankfully that didn’t happen.

    Are parents just testing their kids “manners” or are they really NEEDING to talk to their kids that much? If I’m late to pick up a kid and text them that, then it’s their own stupidity for not checking their messages once they notice I’m late.

  78. Warren August 18, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    To those saying this is no different than taking the phone away?

    So you have no problem with enacting a form of punishment, with absolutely no info, other than you are pissed or inconvenienced.
    I have never impossed a punishment without information, without hearing their side.
    Just locking them out is nothing more than an egotistical parent saying “Ha, stick that. I have the power.”

    How many more excuses are you going to come up with. When I leave them a voicemail, I get a timely response. Why? Because they know i don’t leave messages unless I really need to.

    I would love to see a law not allowing anyone under the age of 16 to have a cellphone. For the one and only reason of screwing up the parents of the instant gratification generation.

  79. Jen (P.) August 18, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    Warren – I’m not making excuses; I’m considering whether a piece of technology might be useful to my family (for what it’s worth, I think not in this case). That’s what technology is for. Feel free to go back to the pony express if you like.

  80. Warren August 18, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    Really, you kid would rather have their phone locked than get a voicemail?

    I would respond but it is hard to type and laugh at the same time.

  81. Donna August 18, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

    “A child who persistently gives no response in a reasonably timely fashion to a parent calling or texting on the phone is being disrespectful and rude.”

    I absolutely do not see not responding to a phone call as being disrespectful or rude, no matter who you are. In fact, I think that it is kinda rude that parents are contacting their children while they are out and about so often that they can show a “persistent” refusal to respond and that may be why they are getting no response. Either you trust your kid to wander free or you need to check up on your kid all the time. Which is it?

    I just can’t imagine that there is anything that dang important to talk to your kids about repeatedly. Sure, every once in awhile you may need something important, but not regularly. Let your kids be when they are out having fun.

    It wasn’t too many years ago that we all got along just fine as a society without this need to stay in constant contact with each other. A time when not returning a phone call within 24 hours was considered rude, now, god forbid you go 24 minutes.

  82. pentamom August 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    “In fact, I think that it is kinda rude that parents are contacting their children while they are out and about so often that they can show a “persistent” refusal to respond and that may be why they are getting no response. ”

    Something doesn’t have to be frequent to be persistent. If they call their kids once every two days, or once a week, and the kids persistently don’t bother to text back of pick up the phone *eventually,* it’s disrespectful and rude.

    I’m not talking about situations where not responding is not caused by disrespect and rudeness, I’m talking about situations where it *is.* And just like anything else, a parent can judge when that’s going on. Using this tool if a parent has judged that’s what’s going on is no worse than denying them any other privilege if they can’t handle it according to the way their parents think they should. Free Range isn’t about having no standards for how your kids treat you.

  83. pentamom August 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    “So you have no problem with enacting a form of punishment, with absolutely no info, other than you are pissed or inconvenienced.”

    No. I’m saying this doesn’t have to be done as a result of “absolutely no info” any more than taking the phone away does. Using an app to turn off a phone instead of picking it up and putting it where the kid can’t get it doesn’t force you to do it more hastily or for different reasons. Why would it?

  84. pentamom August 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    E, as I said, this doesn’t just have to be about NEEDING to be in touch or NEEDING to know where your kid is.

    It could just be about expecting that when you call your own child, for reasons you deem appropriate, your child will give the respect of getting back to you in such time as he’s reasonably aware that you’ve wanted to contact him, and has a reasonable opportunity to respond. If there’s some reason he can’t respond, of course it shouldn’t be expected. If there’s every reason to know that he *can* and simply chooses to treat his parents worse than he’d treat his friends, there is a problem, and this is one way (although arguably not the best way) to address it.

    Why people think that it’s perfectly okay for younger kids not to answer their parents when their parents want their attention, regardless of medium, I do not understand.

  85. Donna August 18, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    pentamom – Maybe it is just because I am not a huge phone user in general, but I don’t think not answering a phone call or text is ever rude or disrespectful. Frustrating certainly in many instances, but not rude or disrespectful. I just don’t see how someone not wanting to drop what they are doing to talk to you is somehow rude on their part. And why can’t kids just need a break from talking to their parents? God knows that I did when I was a teen. That was probably why I left the house to do something else start with. Why is wanting to just be left alone for a couple hours rude or disrespectful?

    But I also don’t provide my child a cell phone so that I can contact her. That can be a handy side benefit, but I really provide her a cell phone so that she can communicate with the outside world. We do not have, or will we ever have, a land line (house phone jack is broken and I’m not paying to have it fixed). Right now, her phone never leaves the house – it is for her to contact me if she needs to while she is home alone – but one day soon she will have more of a need for a phone and I will get her a better one for her benefit.

  86. Nic August 18, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

    This has nothing to do with kids being freerange, and all to do with respect. I don’t think this mother was dealing with once or twice, but kids constantly ignoring her calls. Phones aren’t your kids right, they are a privilege.

  87. Donna August 18, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    “Why people think that it’s perfectly okay for younger kids not to answer their parents when their parents want their attention, regardless of medium, I do not understand.”

    In my view, you’ve given your children the freedom to be away from you – to be free range, to handle things on their own, to enjoy themselves without you. To then demand their attention during that time, outside of an emergency, is rude.

    It is sort of like work. My boss (when I had one) could insert himself into my work time whenever he wanted. It would be totally rude for me to just ignore him and not answer his calls, emails or texts. It is not rude to ignore him on the weekend. It is actually kinda rude for him to interrupt my weekend. I can understand that sometimes a legitimate need is there, but that really should only arise rarely.

  88. Glen August 18, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    We’ve had a problem with our teen-agers exhibiting entitlement issues or scoffing at the idea of picking up the phone if we call.

    Message to my kids is in the rare chance we call you, you better pick up the damn phone. If we are calling it means we need something and it is important to us, so it better be important to you. I won’t be downloading an app for that, I can get very creative in destroying a phone when they get home.

  89. SteveS August 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    I don’t see that taking away their phone and disabling it remotely are the same thing at all. In the case of the latter, there is not really any chance to get an explanation. I just don’t like this zero tolerance system of discipline and don’t really see it as being effective.

  90. Donna August 18, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    I guess I mean annoying more than rude. It is annoying to have the people that you are trying to get free time away from to intrude on that free time. And as kids, we uaed to get that free time. If we were free ranging, our parents had to rwally need us to go about finding us so it was almost never done. Today kids get no chance to unplug from their parents for awhile. We say they do, but then say that we can call them anytime and they must respond.

  91. Emily Morris August 18, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    My first thought was “isn’t that dangerous”?

    I don’t want to sound paranoid, but the cautious side of me loves the technology of cell phones allowing us so much accessibility in the event of an emergency. I plan to make the primary purpose of giving my daughter a future phone is so she can contact me (or vice versa). No way would I disable that useful bit of technology.

    Find another way to discipline your child.

  92. Gina August 18, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

    Warren…YES..exactly what I thought when I saw this article and sent it to Lenore.

  93. Buffy August 18, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    Really, Glen? What if your kid is in the bathroom, or in class, or at practice, or just doing something that doesn’t involve staring at his phone? I just don’t believe that not answering the phone during any of those activities is justification for you creatively destroying the phone.

  94. Warren August 18, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

    Do you read what you write.

    Using an app to turn off a phone instead of picking it up and putting it where the kid can’t get it doesn’t force you to do it more hastily or for different reasons. Why would it?

    Your words. Using this app is completely different than taking the phone away.
    1. You use the app from a distance, with no info as to what is going on. Taking the phone requires physical presence to do so.
    2. Or if you are going to wait for them to be home, then why use the app at all.
    Your logic is completely flawed.

  95. Warren August 18, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

    I can see these types of controlling parents now trying to get onstar to disable the car because their kid is late, or according to the tracker the car has been parked by the lake too long.

    Control and manipulation are control and manipulation no matter how you dress them up.

  96. SOA August 18, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

    If a parent makes every phone call or vm or text to be IMPERATIVE!!!!!!!!!! even when it is not, eventually the kid will start ignoring every call.

    This happened to DH and I when we first got married. His mother would call and leave a VM saying “Its important you call me!” and we would call her back and it would be something minor and stupid not important at all. So like the boy who cried wolf, we stopped calling her back right away when she said it was important because it rarely ever was.

    If the parent only calls and bothers the kids when they are out for important stuff, then the kid will most likely pick up when you call. If you call for bullshit all the time, then yeah they might ignore you and I would not blame them.

  97. candy August 18, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    Jeez Warren. Why so personal? ADULTS should be able to rationally discuss issues with respect. Sounds like little Warren is still mad at his mommy…
    Oops. Did I just ignore my own advice. 🙂

  98. hineata August 19, 2014 at 4:38 am #

    I wonder if we’re talking different things here. I personally would not expect a college age young person to be getting back to me except at their convenience. Then again, though, I wouldn’t expect to be paying their cellphone bills etc. That’s what loans and jobs are for.

    I absolutely do expect my minor children to get in touch with me when I deem it necessary to call or text them. I pay their bills, I bought their cell phones, I only call when it’s necessary for me to contact them, which includes reminders of appointments, meeting places etc, so they had better be replying when I contact them, or bye-bye phone. This app is just another form of child management, and if that makes me a control freak, then control freak I am happy to be.

    Right now I would just love this app for Miss Too-Cool-for-Words, with whom we are once again having struggles, this time regarding the hour at which the phone goes off – we have chosen 10 p.m., which is adequate in my opinion for a 13 year old. Not in hers, apparently.

    Actually I am going to stop writing and try to see if I can get find this app. I know you hate it, Lenore, and I hate it that this woman is using it to control an adult, but if it works on snotty young teens, then God bless this crazy woman, and thank you for drawing it to our attention.

  99. Katie G August 19, 2014 at 6:50 am #

    15 seconds of thought and I see several problems with this (beyond the idea that any child under about 15 should have a phone at all…)
    There are tons of legitimate reasons not to answer the phone, including being in the bathroom or doing something that requires both hands. Or being on another call?
    Mom probably knows when a kid’s in class, but suppose there’s a family emergency that does mean the parents need to get ahold of a child. Child’s in class and not able to answer. Then s/he sees a missed call but can’t return it to find out that something’s happened? Crazy!

  100. Buffy August 19, 2014 at 7:13 am #

    @hineata, you’re still not addressing the question, asked a few times here (and not just of you), about the child being involved in something during which they are not monitoring their phone.

    Do you really think immediately disabling the phone is the answer when there is actually a legitimate reason they’re not at your beck and call?

  101. E August 19, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    I spoke to my 19 yo about this last night. He thought it was silly and unnecessary. This is my kid that isn’t attached to his phone at all moments of his life (and I like it that way — I have another who is and find it far more annoying). He said if he was hanging out with his friends and they were (for example) playing video games, he can certainly picture a situation where he would have put his phone down (and on silent) and ignored it for awhile. He said if he picked it up and noticed I’d called/texted he would then call me back. He thought there would be ZERO difference between having to call me to activate his phone or just noticing that I had tried to reach him and replying.

    In other words, it would serve no purpose. If he doesn’t look at his phone for an hour, it doesn’t matter if it’s disabled or if I have an unread msg sitting there for him.

    As I said, I have another kid who spends WAY WAY too much time “looking at his phone”. I think my kid who is less attached has a much healthier approach to the technology.

  102. Warren August 19, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    Was talking to my teen daughter about this.

    She had a few good points.

    1. Locking the phone will not speed up a response. As there was a reason that did not respond in the first place.
    2. What happens when mom locks the phone, then is unreachable and you cannot get the code to unlock it.
    3. “Hang on I have to call mom and get my phone unlocked.” will most certainly embarass the teen, and get the mom labled as a you know what.
    4.She doesn’t know anyone that gets overwhelmed by texts, messages or anything, that they don’t know who tried to get ahold of them.
    5. If it is not an emergency, who cares.
    6. If it is an emergency, keep calling until you reach them. To which I pointed out that is time consuming. To which she pointed out, do people call 911 and leave a message expecting them to return the call?

  103. Donna August 19, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    “I only call when it’s necessary for me to contact them, which includes reminders of appointments, meeting places etc,”

    But isn’t the whole point of free range kids for kids to be responsible and do these things on their own without needing mommy to call to remind them? It is like we are only sort of letting them free range – we give them the freedom without any of the responsibility that used to go along with it. Back in my day, parents could only nag their children in person. Now they can do it remotely too. Yay.

    For me it really goes back to kids used to have the freedom to be completely free of their parents for a little while and fly on their own. We left the house after school and didn’t have to be home until the street lights came on. If we happened to be right outside, we may be called in, but mom wasn’t hunting the neighborhood for us unless it was a true emergency. Kids don’t get that today. They are constantly attached to their parents by the phone umbilical cord so free range is just an illusion.

    It isn’t so much that I don’t expect kids to answer when the parents call or call back as soon as they can, but that I see the vast majority of parents using the phone as a nag mechanism. They don’t reserve it for emergencies, but call every time they have something to say. Of course kids begin to ignore it, just like the ignore your nagging in person.

    “I absolutely do expect my minor children to get in touch with me when I deem it necessary to call or text them. I pay their bills, I bought their cell phones,”

    So if your teen gets a job and pays her own bills, you no longer have control? She can suddenly stay up all night on the phone?

    I have a right to control my child’s phone usage because I am the parent, not because I paid for the phone. Likewise, the fact that I paid for the phone shouldn’t allow me to bother my children any time I want.

    I am not opposed to rules for the use of a cellphone (whether I bought it or not), but this just seems like a way to avoid confrontation. You don’t want to deal with a snotty attitude when you take the phone away, so you do it remotely. Further, you don’t really want to take the phone away to start with. You can’t nag remotely if they don’t have the phone.

  104. E August 19, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    @Warren — sounds like you had the same feedback as me. My son also said that there are probably jerky kids that ignore their parents repeatedly but figured they wouldn’t care or figure out a way around it anyway.

    @Donna — totally agree.

  105. Marni August 19, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    I think the problem is parents calling their teenager on their cell phone at all. Teenagers no longer have the freedom to become independent. In the past, teenagers had room to experience independence and begin the journey to adulthood. It was the teenager who contacted his mother if his plans changed, and not the mother constantly contacting the teenager. My children are still small, but I hope that I become the kind of mother who does not call or text my children on their cell phones. If they have a cell phone, it is so that they can call ME to tell me if their plans change. For example, they can call to tell me that they will be late for dinner. This app is to calm down those mothers who constantly call and text their children, and then feel bad when their teenager demands some independence by not picking up (or simply doesn’t hear the call or is busy). It is a bad feeling when we call someone and they don’t call us back. But, the other option for mothers is to get a life and not harass our teenagers on their cell phones. They deserve to not have to be joined at the hip to their mothers.

  106. E August 19, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    @Marni — that the point I’m getting at. Because of the ‘always available’ status that cell phones afford us, we’ve modified our communication and management style to include this. Instead of having kids tell the who/where of their plans before they leave the house, it’s all figured out on the fly.

    If the kid goes off to do whatever and we know when they’ll be back, I have no reason to call them while they are gone. If THEY need to let us know that something is interfering with that commitment, it’s their burden to contact us.

  107. Donna August 19, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    E – And if I do need to call – e.g. I’m going to be late picking up – the onus is on my kid to actually answer the phone, read the text message or listen to the voicemail. If she doesn’t and ends up sitting around waiting, oh well, maybe she’ll make a different choice next time.

    Same with us leaving plans open. I’m okay with making plans on the fly and love the convenience of cell phone for this. But it is her job to keep me informed; not mine to follow up with her. And if she needs something from me for those plans, like a ride, she need to answer the phone when I call or suffer the consequences.

  108. E August 19, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    @Donna – yes, that’s it. If your kid is supposed to come home from school (or soccer practice) directly, they should be the ones calling to modify those plans. They shouldn’t just go off and do it and have me calling them to figure out where they are.

    I’m not saying that’s never happened to me, it has! But that’s when the discussion is about the proper process to follow when they want to make a change from the norm…not because they didn’t answer the phone when I called (which would admittedly be annoying). Heck, even if they answered the phone I’d still have an issue to discuss with them.

  109. Warren August 19, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    As for the trying to tell them you’ll be late picking them up or whatever. Why does a text like “running late” even need a response?

  110. Emily August 19, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    >>Not answering the phone or returning calls is rude. Kids who do this are rude. They are always within reach of their phones. It is the same as not answering their names at the dinner table.<<

    @Dirk–Not necessarily. There are times when it's either not possible to answer a cell phone right away (swimming pool; phone is put away in a locker, soccer game; phone is put away in the kid's backpack), or rude (school, work, movie/concert/play, yoga class, worship service, etc). If I'd had a cell phone when I was in high school, then I might have been guilty of "repeatedly not answering in a timely manner," simply because I went swimming at the YMCA after school, and obviously couldn't take my phone into the pool, or I was at band practice or student council, where cell phones would have been disruptive to others. I wasn't a rude kid–I know this because I was well-liked by my peers AND by adults.

    @Warren–As for your proposed rule that nobody under 16 can have a cell phone, I worry that that would morph into "nobody under 16 can leave their house unsupervised," because some parents would be reluctant to allow their kids/younger teens out in the world if they couldn't contact them immediately. I know that it seems crazy and helicopterish, because I too grew up in the "notes on the fridge/pay phone/not necessarily instant contact" generation (although I was right on the tail end of it), but sadly, I can see it happening. I think we agree on one key point, though–the root of the problem is people's expectations. It's not reasonable to expect that someone, of any age, be instantly available when you contact them. When I was a kid, being out without your parents, would usually mean being completely without them, because back then, cell phone ownership was the exception, rather than the rule. These days, being truly "alone" or "exploring independently" is much rarer, because of the cell phone culture. So, the way I see it, if you don't trust your child to, say, leave the house at one o'clock, go to the library, and be home in time to leave for dance class at four, without being in constant cell phone contact, then that child isn't ready for that privilege in the first place.

  111. Warren August 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    Was only joking bout the under 16. Because I know how screwed up a lot of parents would be without instant access to their kids. Though I do not consider teenagers kids, more like adults in training.

  112. Buffy August 19, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    I asked this before of the pro-app pro-“I pay the bills and they damn well better answer my calls immediately” folks, and I’m going to ask it again quoting Emily: There are times when it’s either not possible to answer a cell phone right away (swimming pool; phone is put away in a locker, soccer game; phone is put away in the kid’s backpack), or rude (school, work, movie/concert/play, yoga class, worship service, etc).

    Are there really no situations in which you feel that it would be appropriate for your child to not answer the phone (yes, the one that you pay for), and for which the proper response might NOT be disabling (or creatively destroying, a la Glen) the phone?

  113. Emily August 19, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    Was only joking bout the under 16. Because I know how screwed up a lot of parents would be without instant access to their kids. Though I do not consider teenagers kids, more like adults in training.<<

    Warren, that is so true. In fact, I wonder if Lenore would be open to making up some "Adult-In-Training" T-shirts to sell on this website, for older kids who've aged out of the "Free-Range Kid" category?

  114. Emily August 19, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    P.S., Does anyone else here watch The Simpsons? I’m starting to think that, if used consistently, the “Ignore No More” app is a recipe for creating the kind of relationship that Principal Skinner and his mother have.

  115. Emily August 19, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    @Katie G. If the child is in class, and the parent needs to contact that child because of a family emergency, what ever happened to calling the school office (or the residence building, or the off-campus roommate if the “child” is in university), and saying, “Hello, Principal/Residence Director/Roommate, please have Offspring call me back immediately.” Also, the reverse process could happen if the emergency took place at school. I actually had this happen once. It was the second day at a new school, and my brother and I were in grades two and five, respectively. Anyway, my then seven-year-old brother had been pushed off the monkey bars at recess by another kid, and he’d fallen and broken his foot. The vice-principal called my dad at work, my dad came and picked up my brother and took him to the hospital, and then he (the vice-principal) pulled me out of gym class to tell me that my brother had broken his foot, was in the hospital, and therefore wouldn’t need to be walked home after school. Yes, this process took longer than it would have if we’d all had cell phones, let alone having them on our person 24/7, but it still worked. Even if something had gone wrong; for example, if the VP hadn’t been able to reach my dad (my mom was in Toronto attending law school, and couldn’t have been easily reached), then I’m sure that something would have been sorted out–for example, the VP could have driven my brother to the hospital himself.

  116. hineata August 20, 2014 at 12:25 am #

    Sorry, am not in the best place to rationally consider things of this nature. Had to pick up Miss Snotty from the police station last night after she decided to run away, obstensibly over her cell phone ‘rights’.

    Some of you have raised some good points. Some of them are probably quite legitimate, and I will think about them when I am in a better headspace.

    Good luck Glen, with your darling. Hope she is doing better than ours. My first brush with this level of acting out, hope to heck it’s the last.

    And yes, Warren, I am a sucky parent. Any sensible advice gratefully received.

  117. Warren August 20, 2014 at 9:01 am #


    How about some sympathy instead. Not a good feeling walking into that station, I imagine. Everything going thru your head from how to deal with the “brat”, to how am I going to be judged by the cops.

    Hope it works out.

  118. Warren August 20, 2014 at 9:10 am #


    My gut reaction, putting myself in your shoes……

    In a couple days when the smoke has drifted, I would take my kid back to the cop shop, and have him/her apologize to the officer for wasting their valuable time, for a silly arguement of cellphone use.

    I’s also bring one of those bulk Tim Horton coffee canteens. It is the equivalent of like 20 cups of coffee.

  119. EricS August 20, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    There are 2 sides to the spectrum on this one for me.

    1. I think it’s a pretty good idea. It teaches your children responsibility and consequences. Which is sorely lacking in the youths of today. As long as the intention of the app is to teach discipline, self control, responsibility. Teaching children skills that will help them in their lives, as they get older.

    2. I think it’s a bad idea. Most especially when the parent(s) use it to CONTROL, and “leash” their children. When it becomes more about what the parents want, then what is best for the child. Teaches the wrong message to our children. Potentially causing them to rebel even more.

    As Scott mentioned, “…a $700 phone and there were expectations that went with the privilege.”

  120. EricS August 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    @ Warren:

    You can tell your daughter these points.

    1. Locking the phone will not speed up a response. As there was a reason that did not respond in the first place.

    A: Your a tween/teen, other than a test, an exam, or your dead, what reason could you possibly have that would be more important than picking up the phone when your parents call?

    Note: Of course, there should be an important reason why a parent should be calling as well. Not just because they can. 😉

    2. What happens when mom locks the phone, then is unreachable and you cannot get the code to unlock it.

    A: Then that is on the parent(s) for having double standards. If the parent is calling, then they should pick up as well. That said, keep calling. At least you will have ammo for rebuttals.

    3. “Hang on I have to call mom and get my phone unlocked.” will most certainly embarass the teen, and get the mom labled as a you know what.

    A: Then pick up the phone so you avoid all of that in the first place. See A for #1. It’s that simple and logical.

    4.She doesn’t know anyone that gets overwhelmed by texts, messages or anything, that they don’t know who tried to get ahold of them.

    A: This one is a good point. But if I talk to your mother to give it a few tries before locking. You should be able to notice your phone ringing by then. Pick up. If your mom is calling that many times. Consider it important.

    5. If it is not an emergency, who cares.

    A: Good point. I’ll talk to your mom.

    6. If it is an emergency, keep calling until you reach them. To which I pointed out that is time consuming. To which she pointed out, do people call 911 and leave a message expecting them to return the call?

    A: So by that reasoning, next time you want something, you’ll just have to keep asking until we answer. Your phone is a privilege, not a right. EXPECT to get “emergency” calls at any given time, that’s why it’s called an “emergency”. That is the primary reason why we got you a phone in the first place. If you don’t use it for that, then you don’t need one. I’ll take it back.

    Then add at the end of it, “If you want to do whatever you want with your phone, then you should buy your own, and pay for your own mobile plans.”

  121. Emily August 20, 2014 at 2:14 pm #


    The app doesn’t completely lock the phone; it just disables texting, gaming, and calls with everyone except parents, 911/emergency services, and others on the In Case of Emergency list. Also, as many people have said before, there are many, many reasons why someone might not answer a phone immediately. Maybe they’re driving, or in the bathroom or the shower, or in a movie theatre, or a live performance. This morning, I went swimming, and then to a yoga class taught by a colleague of mine. Yesterday, and the day before, I was teaching yoga myself. The day before THAT, I was at steel band rehearsal, which also precludes cell phone use, because it’s a focused group activity. So, throughout steel band, yoga, and swimming, my phone was turned off and put away. I’m an adult, so this doesn’t matter, but if a teenager was doing the exact same things that I did, and (correctly) put away his or her cell phone beforehand, would that really be a bad thing?

    As for telling a teenager to “expect emergency calls at any time,” that goes back to the “crying wolf” argument. What if the “emergency” is just that the parent wants the teenager to pick up milk on the way home or something, or wants to know what said teenager is doing every minute? I mean, suppose Jimmy was going to the movies with some friends from school, and suppose Jimmy’s mom was constantly texting with Jimmy–“Now, don’t go to a movie that’s rated more than PG-13, even if Sam, Susie, and Sarah want to go. Don’t get Skittles, they have high-fructose corn syrup, but don’t get a large popcorn either; it’ll spoil your appetite for dinner. Oh, and don’t sit too close to the speakers; it’ll damage your ears,” and so on, and so forth? What if Jimmy tried to end the conversation by saying, “Gotta go, Mom, the movie’s about to start,” but she kept running interference, telling him to plug his ears if he heard a swear word, close his eyes if he saw violence or bathroom humour, and so on, and so forth, and then locked poor Jimmy’s phone when he failed to respond, because he had politely turned off his phone so as not to disturb the other moviegoers? This may sound “out there,” but there ARE parents like that. One of them was on Dr. Phil with her daughter a few years ago. My point is, even if you give your kid a phone, I think there should be times when it’s okay to NOT use the phone, in keeping with common sense and manners, logistics (for example, it’s not possible to use a cell phone in a swimming pool), and sometimes even just the need for some peace and quiet.

  122. Emily August 20, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    P.S., I forgot to make my point–too many micromanaging calls and texts, will likely influence a young person to ignore a true emergency. So, after so many times of “No Skittles,” if Mom or Dad texts “The house is on fire,” or “Your brother fell off the roof,” it might just fall through the cracks. When everything is urgent, nothing is.

  123. Warren August 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Okay let’s do this.
    1. I am not a Nazi parent that expects a snap to by my kids. And I can think of dozens of reasons for not answering the phone. Unlike some people, and I am assuming you, my family is in agreement that if your are engaged in conversation or activity with someone, that is is just plain rude, to answer your phone. That is what voicemail is for.

    2.Yes because everyone get perfect signal strength everywhere. Our area sucks for no signal.
    I get called out on service calls all the time, and am not able to answer the phone. It is called life, Dude.

    3.Your attitude on this and number one is a combination or arrogance, control and ignorance. See my response to number one.

    4.Depends on where they are or what they are doing. If you make being attatched to the phone a requirement for having the phone, then see the Nazi parent handbook.

    5.If I call with a non emergency, I don`t give a rat`s ass if they respond. And if you meant my actual mom, lol, you won`t get her, she hates talking on the phone, and unless my dad is there, she very rarely answers it.

    6.“So by that reasoning, next time you want something, you’ll just have to keep asking until we answer. Your phone is a privilege, not a right. EXPECT to get “emergency” calls at any given time, that’s why it’s called an “emergency”. That is the primary reason why we got you a phone in the first place. If you don’t use it for that, then you don’t need one. I’ll take it back.

    Then add at the end of it, “If you want to do whatever you want with your phone, then you should buy your own, and pay for your own mobile plans.”“

    That kind of controlling attitude just makes you and asshole, not a parent.

    My kids were not given phones for emergency purposes at all. That is just a side benefit.

    Expect to get emergency calls at any given time…….how paranoid do you need to be to tell someone that. Wow, Eric, you have anger and control issues.

    You want to treat your kids like prisoners and you`re the warden, or soldiers and your the General, go for it. Myself, I prefer to treat mine with respect and as people.

  124. Emily August 20, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    P.S., I’ll bet anyone here a Diet Coke that some innovative teenager will figure out a way to create an “Ignore No More Blocker” app, sell it to his or her fellow teens on the “black market” (a.k.a., the high school cafeteria), and make a fortune.

  125. Warren August 20, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    I would much rather see a free app, that when a parent engages their app to lockout the kids phone, that it sends a signal back to mom’s phone, that locks her out as well.

  126. Jana August 20, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    The parent should know where their children are at. If the child is at school or in a movie then parents should know better then to be contacting their children via cell phone. Parents have the option of turning the app on by entering a code. So if the child doesn’t answer right away then the parent could always wait 15 min before entering the code. That 15 min could be an agreed upon grace period so that the child could excuse themselves from anything they are doing and get to a place where it is deemed ok or appropriate to be on the cell phone.
    The app could be used on people’s spouses or significant others though……I’m sure that could cause a few fights …… Doesn’t I cloud just track where people are and for that matter if a child really wants to get away with something they will find away. Smart kids will use the technology to work for them….. I’d call my parents often enough so that they knew I was safe and wouldn’t worry about where I was but in the meantime I could still be doing all kinds of bad things and I can even have background noise on my phone conversation that makes it sound like I am somewhere different then where I am because they have apps for that too…wonder how long it will b till someone makes an app that will disable this parent shutting off the kids phone app ???

  127. Emily August 20, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    I would much rather see a free app, that when a parent engages their app to lockout the kids phone, that it sends a signal back to mom’s phone, that locks her out as well<<

    Warren, I thought of that too, but I don't think anyone would buy that app. For one thing, no parent would want it, knowing that locking their kid's phone would have a "recoil" effect, and for another thing, if a kid downloaded that app, and the parent's phone got locked when they locked the kid's phone, then that parent would be twice as mad–first, for "ignoring" them (air quotes because there might have been a good reason why the kid didn't respond immediately), and second. for installing the "recoil" app…….or even triply mad, if they were calling/texting about a previous infraction, whether real or perceived. So, let's say that Jimmy (hypothetically) forgot to take out the garbage before leaving to go to the movies with Sam, Susie, and Sarah. He turns off his phone before going into the theatre, as per the facility rules. Two hours of Spiderman 5 and HFCS-laced blue Icee later, Jimmy's phone is locked, because his mother was texting him all angry because he'd forgotten to take out the garbage. Recoil app kicks in, and Jimmy's mother's phone is locked as well. Jimmy gets home, and his mother is absolutely irate, because her "delinquent" son forgot to take out the garbage, ignored her on the phone, and downloaded an app to give her a taste of her own medicine. She takes Jimmy's phone away, grounds him indefinitely, and poor Sam, Susie, and Sarah don't get to see their good friend Jimmy for a very, VERY long time.

  128. Warren August 20, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

    A parent should know where their kid is at.

    My oldest doesn’t count, she’s an adult in every province and every state.

    My two youngest are 15. As for knowing where they are…..well I have a general idea of their plans, but I could not tell you their location at any given time. Unless they are leaving town, not going to be home for dinner or asking to stay at a friends, I don’t need constant updates of their movements. If I really need to get ahold of them, I call and talk to them or leave a message.
    And unless I am calling to tell them to duck because of an asteroid about to hit them, there is really no rush for them to get back to me.

    Why are all these parents so hyped that their kids have to get back to them a.s.a.p.? I don’t understand this concept. Other than it being control.

  129. Rachael August 20, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

    I can’t believe you said makes your stomach turn, GET OVER IT! When the parent is paying for the phone , you better have some respect and call them back. Someone could be dying, which these kids don’t understand, before they return your text of call. I say go back to how it was twenty years ago and don’t give any of these kids cell phones. Maybe they will learn how to converse and get there homework and chores done. I glad this mom came up with this app it puts control back into the parents hands.

  130. Warren August 20, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    I can’t help myself on this one.


    You just proved how utterly stupid you controlling parents are. You get pissed because they dont get back to you fast enough, so you want to go back to before they had cellphones?

    You are just creating an era in which you have no means to get ahold of them.

    And if you text or leave a voice message that someone is dying, and your kid still does not respond, you failed as a parent a long time before they ever got the phone.

    LOL, all these people that are going on about emergencies, and other justifications for this control app sound a lot like those people against leaving kids in the car while you run an errand. You really do.

  131. Emily August 20, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    @Warren–I agree with your response to Rachael, but I think that, along with taking away phones, she’d probably also want to keep her kids at home, under her watchful eye, doing homework and chores, and not having any opportunity to go out and meet with friends and be unreachable for a while. But, I think another side of this is, you can’t have it both ways. Adults complain that kids are constantly glued to their phones, but then they also complain when their kids put their phones away for a game of soccer, or a band practice, or whatever, and can’t be reached immediately. Of course, kids can’t have it both ways either. Kids can’t be glued to their phones 24/7 playing Candy Crush and whatnot, and also deliberately ignore their parents’ calls and texts. Yes, it’s possible to be inundated with texts, calls, and voice messages from friends, and miss a parental contact, but if you spend that much time on your phone, then you HAVE to see it. But, my main point is, the attitude that I see from a lot of adults (present company excluded) is, “Kids spend too much time on their smartphones; they should turn off those phones, and engage with the REAL WORLD…..until that becomes inconvenient for me.” This is masked by a lot of “napalm words,” like “respect” and “safety,” and “I’m paying for it,” but the crux of the matter is, you can’t complain that kids are missing out on real life in favour of the tiny world inside their phones, and then turn around and complain that they’re missing your phone contact attempts while they’re trying to engage with the world. Polite, well-rounded, healthy people turn off their phones sometimes, and that should start young.

  132. hineata August 21, 2014 at 6:11 am #

    @Warren – thanks, sincerely, for that. Think I need a bulk thing of coffee just by myself!

    But yes, am letting the dust settle and will take some food etc and child in a few days….

    Thank God the police were very supportive, no judgment at all, just sympathetic. No follow up either, unless she starts making it a pattern.

  133. Warren August 21, 2014 at 10:35 am #


    If the cops are that good, maybe they might want to help you with a scare tactic of sorts. When you go back with your thank you offerings…………would it not be cool if one of the officers offered to fit your kid with an ankle tracking bracelet, if you wanted? All just for shock and awe so to speak. lol.

  134. Buffy August 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    Well Rachael, since you’re one of them too, please address my question, oft asked but rarely answered:

    What if your kid is in the bathroom, or in class, or at practice, or in the pool, or just doing something that doesn’t involve staring at his phone? Is there really no gray area related to them being at your beck and call?

    And how many times have you really had to call your kids regarding a true family emergency ie. someone dying?

  135. SOA August 21, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

    Emily: bravo and very well put

  136. SOA August 21, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    If your teen is not using the phone responsibly take it away from them or ground them and then they just stay home so don’t need a phone. Saves the money spent on such an app.

    I will answer to the if there is an emergency at school to call the office part though. That does not work so well. It never worked well back when I was a kid in school. They often had Seniors on their free period handling the phones and they misplaced a lot of messages and they never made it to the student.

    Or they would deliver it hours later or at the end of the day, not right away.

    So If I feel my kids need a phone for school I am sending it. I am not going to rely on the school to get important info through. The kid can leave the phone in their locker and check it between classes for a text or VM from me. I trust that more than the school to get messages to the kids.

    I also am going with people don’t learn how to plan anymore. They just rely on calling when you get there to find you or whatever. What happened to “I will meet you in the food court near the Taco Bell at 1”? Boom. No cell needed for that.

  137. Emily August 22, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    >>If your teen is not using the phone responsibly take it away from them or ground them and then they just stay home so don’t need a phone. Saves the money spent on such an app.<<

    @Dolly–In that case, the app becomes something of a strawman, because it's no longer about the app; it's about the parent being the sole arbiter of "responsible phone use," when they can't see the circumstances surrounding their child's delayed response. So, by that logic, let's say that the child is doing something that precludes cell phone use, where the phone is turned off and put away. We've gone through several examples, several times, but let's say for the sake of argument that the child is swimming, and the phone is put away in a locker, and the message isn't received until an hour later, when the child gets out of the pool, showers, dries off, gets dressed, and turns the phone back on. If the child is at a water park, then it could be a much longer time between call/text and response. However, taking a cell phone where it can get wet, will damage it, so in that case, putting the phone away is indeed "responsible phone use." That is, unless the parent gets angry at having to wait for a response, in which case the child gets grounded.

  138. SOA August 22, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    I already made it clear earlier that I do not expect my child to answer the second I call every time. I don’t want them answering at the movies, when they are talking to another adult, at school, while they are taking a poo, while swimming, while driving, etc. I can leave a VM or text and they can answer me back later.

    I would only get pissed if they were out without permission or past curfew and they did not answer right away. If that is the case your butt better be answering. Otherwise I don’t care as long as you periodically check VMs and texts to make sure if I called you, you call me back within an hour or so.

    But if they failed to do that, then I just take the phone away. Or enact some other punishment like grounding. I don’t need the ap.

  139. Emily August 22, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    @Dolly–I’m sorry; I should have directed my post at Rachael, Eric S, and all of the other people in the “I expect my child to answer immediately because RESPECT!!! SAFETY!!!! I’M PAYING!!!!!! I’M THE PARENT, AND I SAY SO!!!!! I’m glad you’re reasonable about cell phone use, though. As for “out without permission,” that’s kind of a grey area. When I was in high school, I often didn’t go directly home after school. If I didn’t have an activity after school (usually band or student council), I’d sometimes go to the library, the mall, swimming at the YMCA, or something of that nature. I didn’t get permission to do these things every time, because sometimes I just decided spontaneously (well, not swimming, obviously, because I’d need to bring my swimming things along with my school things that morning). However, I don’t ever remember getting in trouble for being “out without permission” while doing these things. I also don’t remember having a curfew for going out at night. It was more like, “Ben asked me to play glow-in-the-dark mini golf with him tonight; can I go?”; and my parents would tell me yes or no, and even then, that morphed into “I’m going to play glow-in-the-dark mini-golf with Ben tonight” over time. I was considered to be a “good kid” when I was younger, but judging by the standards of some of the people in this thread, maybe I really wasn’t.

  140. Meg August 23, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Did you people bother to learn anything about the app at all before commenting? The kids can still call the parent or 911 even when the parent activates the kill feature on the app. At least find out what it actually does before commenting…

  141. Jessica August 23, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    How do you get the app

  142. Leigh August 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    In today’s world (if your kids have a phone paid for by you, and it’s used for checking in or calling for pickup from activities, or what-have-you) texting or talking on a mobile phone is much like having a face to face conversation. So sorry your tummy is bothering, but how would you feel if you spoke to your kid (or even Hubby, for that matter) and he didn’t respond for, say, 20 minutes. It’s rude and there would be consequences for the lack of consideration. I personally would not take the time to load this app because it only happens once. I text or call. If there is no answer within a reasonable amount of time, the next time I see the kid, the phone is mine for the next 24 hours. No argument. Just hand me the phone. Definitely no helicoptering here. Just teaching common sense and common courtesy.

  143. Ron Anderson August 23, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    I’m thinking of using this on my wife.

  144. SOA August 23, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    Leigh: the only one lacking common courtesy is you. Texting is in no way shape or form the same as face to face conversations. I do not have to answer texts immediately or answer the phone or respond to fb messages or emails immediately. To expect people to do so is rude.

    If I was speaking to a young man or woman and they stopped mid sentence to answer a text to their parent, I would be offended. It can wait a moment. It is attitudes like yours that make people so plugged in all the time and its ruining our society.

    When I go out with my friends to lunch that phone better be put away in your purse and you better not be texting or checking email or playing candy crush when we are supposed to be talking to each other.

  145. SOA August 24, 2014 at 12:01 am #

    I was a good kid that never needed a curfew or to ask permission first either. I left my parents a note telling them where I was going or called and told them and I came back whenever was a reasonable time.

    But some kids need curfews because they take advantage otherwise. Some kids need to be given permission to go somewhere before heading out because they take advantage. It would be nice if all teens could handle that, but some cannot. And that is fine. You just work with what you have.

    If I tell my kids to be back by X time, they need to do so and if they are not going to make it, they need to try to call me and let me know why they will be late. If they don’t and I call looking for them, I do expect an answer immediately. But as long as they are within that curfew, I won’t call and bother them and I don’t expect to be answered back immediately if I do happen to call.

  146. Emily August 24, 2014 at 7:30 am #

    @SOA–“Good kid” doesn’t always equal “freedom.” I wasn’t allowed to do much of anything unsupervised until I was fifteen or so, because of “PEDOPHILES!!!!”; and whatever latest horror my parents had read about in the news. It was always, “We trust you, we just don’t trust the world,” but it was the same effect–my brother and I weren’t really allowed to be out in the world on our own terms. Anyway, that started to shift when I got involved in multiple extra-curricular activities after school. I guess this was because my parents figured that either, “Oh, we can trust Emily, since she manages to balance school, music, student government, and everything else,” or “Who can keep track of Emily? Which wholesome, mind-expanding and community-oriented activity is she at today? Screw it, let her roam.” By mid-late high school, I pretty much came and went as I pleased, but the hovering and policing continued for my brother. He wasn’t a “joiner,” so he came straight home from school every day, and spent most of his after-school hours gaming online. So, he had to ask permission before going anywhere, present a detailed itinerary, call if he changed locations, etc., etc., etc. The meltdowns that ensued when permission was denied, were pretty ugly. We didn’t have cell phones then, but honestly, I don’t think it matters, because a cell phone is just a communication device. Ignore No More is just an app. It all comes down to trusting and respecting young people, or not. Yes, some privileges need to be earned, but when “Can I go to the park/mall/movies/whatever?”; is met with suspicion and hostility, or “Sorry I didn’t text back right away, I was in the movie theatre,” is met with an automatic cell phone confiscation, “no arguments,” BEFORE the kid has actually done anything wrong, that’s not “earning privileges,” that’s “guilty until proven innocent,” which sets up a dynamic where it’s impossible to earn those privileges, because it’s established from day one that the child is “bad.” Kids live up or down to your expectations, and my brother acted out a LOT in high school, possibly because he was just acting the age that my parents treated him.

  147. Amanda Matthews August 26, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

    I’m perfectly fine with BOTH the child/teen and the parent AGREEING to this, if the parent pays for the phone – but only IF the child/teen is given the option of paying for the phone themselves, if they do not want to agree to this deal.

    If not having the phone is not an option, and the parents don’t give the child/teen an option to pay for the phone themselves (i.e. the child/teen is not allowed to do something to make their own money), and force the app onto the child/teen? They are forcing the child/teen to live constantly on edge – better always be ready to answer that phone, or else! It’s emotional abuse imo.

    And if you can’t trust a kid to not run up the bill that you are choosing to pay for, but need them to have a phone – don’t give them a phone where running up the bill is a possibility!

  148. Amanda Matthews August 26, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

    And after reading the comments, my stomach is turning too.

    ““I don’t feel like talking to that person right now” does not cut it when your parents are calling.”

    People under 18 are never entitled to some emotional free-time from their parents? Even when they leave the house?

    That’s a disgusting attitude.

  149. Kimberly August 26, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

    I love this idea. Kids do not always do the right thing. It is a responsible parent who keeps track of their own. If a parent is supposed to be responsible for their own kids, and their actions, and any possible consequences on themselves and society, why not employ every single tool available?