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Welcome to the world of worried mom apps.
We’ve all ignored calls from our parents, even as adults. It’s relatively easy, unless your parents have learned to text. Then there’s no escape. (My dad recently texted, “UR OK? Plz txt ur mom,” and I silently screamed.)
But your parents are just worried about you, and parents of teens have even more reason to be. One Houston mother, Sharon Standifird, recently developed an app called Ignore No More, after becoming frustrated that her kids weren’t calling her back. So how do you scare kids into calling their parents back? You basically make their phone unusable until they do.
She worked with developers and eventually came up with the framework: With the push of a button, the app can lock your child’s phone so they can’t text or use social media, the lifeblood of teens. They can only call a list of parent-approved contacts, and then that contact can give them the password to unlock the phone. (Kids can still call 911, if needed.)
The app’s site claims it’s “virtually impossible to be removed by your child,” and one account can control multiple devices. When the phone is locked, the child “has only two options—he or she can call you back, or call for an emergency responder. No calls to friends, no text, no games, notta’ until they call you back. When they do, you can unlock their phone if you choose to do so. How’s that for parental control?”
Standifird says her son, Bradley, now always calls her back, but could this parental toll extend to other relationships in your life? Could your significant other lock your phone if you aren’t texting them back? There are already instances of phones being locked remotely for financial gain. Is this emotional ransom? Possibly, but Standifird says other parents are into it.
The app is currently only available for Android, but an iPhone version is in development. Standifird’s son had a typically teen response to the popularity of the app:
“Um, well I thought it was a good idea, but for other people, not me.”
Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.