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Son ignoring texts prompts dad to create phone-locking app

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Posted at 2:27 PM, Aug 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-23 17:29:41-04

(KGTV) - A father frustrated with his son ignoring his text messages turned that irritation into a mobile solution. 

Nick Herbert, of the United Kingdom, created the mobile app ReplyASAP, a messaging app that locks users' phone screens and sounds an alarm until they reply to a message. The app will play the alarm even if the phone is set to silent.

ReplyASAP will also notify users when their message has been read.

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On the app's website, Herbert said getting his son, Ben, a smart phone also introduced him to the distractions, such as mobile games and videos.

"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 [or] 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)," Herbert wrote.

To solve the problem, Herbert created ReplyASAP, which acts as an emergency alert system of sorts to contact a given user.

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Herbert told 10News his son has been instrumental in helping him develop the app, outside of his initial motivation to create it.

"He has an iPhone so at the moment he only has the test version. So I can't really use it fully with him yet. But what we have used it for in testing is how I would hope it gets used when it's live," Herbert said. "I have however found it very useful to get hold of the developers when I need an urgent query answering."

The app is not designed to take the place of traditional text messaging the website saying it's, "designed to be a system for sending important messages and not replace texting or other messaging apps, as such the arriving ASAP will always make a noise and interrupt what ever the phone is being used for."

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As one could imagine, having an alarm sound about something simple could be annoying for some potential users. Though, Herbert said he doesn't think parents will take to using the app in lieu of simple texting. 

"I don't think it will replace [texting], but when testing with it there is a very strong temptation to reply to an ASAP with an ASAP because it's quick and you know it'll get there," Herbert said. "So I think it may replace some messaging but not all. The more it replaces the less it's effect as an important messaging channel."

The app is available in the Google Play app store for Android phones in the United States and coming to iOS for iPhone.

For more information, visit ReplyASAP's website here.