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Technological Advances in Buzzkilling

Technological Advances in Buzzkilling

By Valerie Burn

Last week, the internet was abuzz with a new app made by a mom who was sick of her kids not answering her calls. In short, the app makes it so the user (her kid) cannot access anything else on his or her phone until the user calls mom back. She calls the app Ignore No More, and describes it as such:

When you lock your child's phone with Ignore No More your 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?

Or, you know, you could trust that your kids will call you back when it's convenient and safe and not when they're forced to.

This got us thinking: what else have parents done to harsh our mellows via technology? The answer: plenty.

  1. Withholding the WiFi password until you do your chores. We feel like Pinterest is to blame for this becoming mainstream.
  2. Apps like Net Nanny. Net Nanny is The Original annoying parental app. Net Nanny has two big prongs—a general blocking system for content the app decides is bad, and also a way for the parent/user to block specific content. On top of that. Net Nanny gives the parent data on every site, download, etc. In short, it's a major buzzkill, even when you're doing nothing wrong.
  3. Apps like Mama Bear. Mama Bear takes it to a whole 'nother level. It's a GPS tracker, and adds, to its long list of annoying traits, a social media watcher. It also lets the "mama bear" know when you add a new contact to your phone. Which is definitely suspicious activity.
  4. And apps like Canary. Canary is a different breed of invasiveness, and a little less annoying. According to one roundup, the app "will notify parents if their teen's iPhone or Android device is being used (such as for texting, calling or using social media) while the car is traveling at more than 12mph, as well as when the car is above speed limits." On the one hand, we're cool with decreasing the texting/driving thing. On the other hand, maybe just talk to your kids about texting and driving.
  5. The check in phone call. You know, the "call me when you get there" requirement that parents mandate. Certainly, it's nice that parents are giving their kids some leeway. However, the last thing we want to do when we get to our friends' place (and the last thing we remember to do) is call mom. We want to get our C.O.D. on, mom. Chill.
  6. GPS tracking devices. This is starting to feel like a dystopian teen novel. While these devices are not implanted under your skin (YET), parents are happily GPS tracking their young. Kids, by their nature, are meant to explore and maybe get in a little trouble. After all, the Hardy Boys would have never solved anything if Mr. and Mrs. Hardy knew that their boys were in an abandoned library, full of ghosts and bad guys. Same goes for the Scooby Doo crew. Won't someone think of the Scooby Doo crew?!!

Certainly, this plays into a "my house / my rules" mentality, and if your parents are providing your phone, you should submit to a few rules. But really, Mama Bear? The worst part about being a teen is being treated like a child, but being expected to act like an adult. Let's meet in the middle, parents.

What do you think? Do your parents use any of these apps? How many steps away are we from a dystopian teen novel where we all must check in with our parents constantly?

Tags: parents, technology, science, apps, parental control, iphones

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About the Author
Valerie Burn

Valerie Burn is a very cool Midwestern lady. She has lived in tons of exciting places, such as Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. She spends her free time snuggling her beautiful, perfect dog Teddy, and reading the entire internet every day. Valerie enjoys eating things, buying things, and writing things, as well as watching terrible TV.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.