Fed Up With Kids Not Answering, Mom Designs App That Disables Cell Phones

Ignore No More turns mobiles into useless devices unless teens call or text their parents back.

(Photo: Courtesy of Ignorenomoreapp.com)

Staff Writer Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

The days of teenagers ignoring calls and text messages from their parents may soon be over. Sharon Standifird, a Houston mom and Gulf War veteran, had had enough with worrying that something had happened to her kids, only to find out that they were intentionally not answering. So she created Ignore No More, an app that turns a teen’s mobile phone into a brick unless he or she calls a parent or guardian back.

"It takes away texting; it takes away gaming; it takes away calling their friends, surfing the Internet.” Standifird told ABC 13. “If there's an emergency, the child will always be able to call 911. It's a feature that no developer can take off the phone.”

The only way teens can get their phone working again is to call their parent, who then gives them a code that reactivates the device.

Standifird had no experience in app development, so she did research online to learn how to make one. “I got on the Internet, and I literally just started researching how to develop an app,” she said. She spent several months working with a team of developers on the Ignore No More project.

A parent or guardian could always just take their teen’s phone away the first time he or she starts not picking up. But between sports, after-school jobs, and Mom and Dad working longer hours, some parents simply don't like not having a way to get in touch. After all, if a mom takes away the phone, she can’t call her kid to figure out where he or she is.

So what happens when an equally tech-savvy teen tries to disable the app?

“Don’t worry, we got you covered,” reads the Ignore No More website. “As soon as your child attempts to deactivate the admin role for the app their phone will immediately lock and the parent will receive an email message stating: 'Warning, Child Tampering With Ignore No More.' "

Sorry, parents, if you’ve given your child an iPhone, you’re out of luck. The app is only available for Android devices.

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