Monday 19 March 2018

Dad creates app that stops kids from ignoring parents’ text messages

When a message is sent through ReplyASAP, it completely takes over the recipient’s screen Stock image
When a message is sent through ReplyASAP, it completely takes over the recipient’s screen Stock image

Aatif Sulleyman

A father has created an app that makes it much more difficult for children to ignore their parents’ text messages.

When a message is sent through ReplyASAP, it completely takes over the recipient’s screen, no matter what they’re doing, forcing them to read it.

Their phone also sounds an alarm, even if it’s in silent mode, which only stops when they tap one of the on-screen options: snooze the notification for three minutes, or cancel it.

Either way, they’ll definitely be aware of the message and its importance.

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What’s more, the sender will receive a push notification from the app to confirm their message has been read, and ReplyASAP will also show them whether it’s been snoozed, delivered, or is still pending (perhaps due to a poor internet connection).

If the recipient’s phone is off, they’ll receive the notification as soon as it’s switched on again.

It’s already available on Android, and is coming to iOS too. Unfortunately, functionality will be limited on iPhones, "due to the restrictions imposed by Apple".

That means, on iPhones, the alarm will only sound if the app is running in the background.

Both users need to have the app installed for it to work. A parent can then pay to add however many recipients they want. ReplyASAP messages can be sent in both directions.

Users can, however, delete the app, in which case their ReplyASAP contacts will receive a notification.

"I have a son, Ben, who is at secondary school. When he started secondary school I bought him a smartphone so that I could contact him and he could contact me (obviously not while at school)," says Nick Herbert, who created the app.

"However, what I thought was a solution turned into a different problem. Because the phone was 'smart', he could play games and watch videos on it. So invariably he keeps his phone on silent so I wouldn't know. As such when I try and contact him he rarely answers, either because he doesn't hear the phone, or because (and I've finally had to admit this to myself) he may be embarrassed to speak to his dad in front of his friends.

"There are times that I need to get a message to him and he has no way of knowing that the call or text he ignores / doesn't see is important or not, and I have no way of knowing if he has seen it (and I mean really seen it and not just moved it so he can get on with his game). There are messaging apps that tell you when a message is delivered and seen, but the point is the message can be ignored or not seen because he didn't hear it."

However, he recommends only using ReplyASAP for urgent matters, as people often enable silent mode for good reason.

Independent News Service

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