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Like most teen boys his age, 15-year-old Ben Herbert loves getting lost in Xbox games and playing soccer with his friends. So naturally, when dad tries to call or text, responding in a timely fashion is usually the last thing on Ben’s mind. Frequently putting his phone on silent also doesn’t help his poor responsiveness.
Totally tired of his son’s lagging or nonexistent replies, his father Nick Herbert, decided to take matters into his own hands.
“[There have] been a few occasions where I’ve tried and tried and still nothing,” said Nick. “It’s generally a culmination of, how can I get in contact with him if I need to?”
As a product manager from the U.K., he used his tech-savvy roots and knack for bringing ideation to fruition to create an ingenious app called ReplyASAP.
The app is designed to let its users send urgent messages that essentially can’t be ignored by the recipient. Messages sent through the app sound off an alarm which can only be shut off once one of two options is selected: ‘snooze for 3 minutes’ or ‘cancel.’
The sender is then notified which option is chosen. The recipient can’t close the app until one of the options is selected, and it also appears on top of whatever they may have been using on the phone at the time.
Messages can either be scheduled or sent immediately.
ReplyASAP is currently only available for Android users, and it’s free for those using it in conjunction with only one person. Otherwise, the fee starts at $1.27. Nick plans on soon developing an iOS version.
Thus far, the response has been wildly positive with the app being downloaded over 75,000 times on Google Play as of 2017, which confirms that many concerned parents have been in Nick’s shoes.
However, not everyone is thrilled about the release of ReplyASAP, as some perceive it as controlling or an invasion of privacy.
“I can assure you abusive and controlling significant others will utilize this,” one critic of the app wrote. “This is overall a horrible idea. Teach your child to respect you enough to call you, don’t let others suffer because you can’t be a decent parent.”
Nick replied to the comment saying, “Thanks for your review of my app. Both parties have to agree to the app being installed and either can block the other, to mitigate the situation you mention. It is primarily about communication and safety, understanding that the app is for urgent messages if other means fail, as the child can contact the parent via the app too.”
He also remarked that the app can be of use to elderly people or colleagues if an urgent matter arises. Nick says that personally, no extreme emergencies have occurred since he released the app, so he’s only needed it to tell his son to come down for dinner.
What are your thoughts on ReplyASAP? Is it a helpful “safety mechanism” for times of urgency/emergency, or a controlling invasion on kids’ lives? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.