U.S. Markets closed

Mom-Made App Allows Parents to Lock Their Kids’ Phones Until They Call Back

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
Yahoo Tech
Three women using smartphones

They won’t know what hit ’em. (Thinkstock)

For generations, children have found new and inventive ways to ignore their parents, and parents have found new and inventive ways to get their attention.

The latest development in this neverending circle of parent-child conflict is Ignore No More, a new $1.99 Android app that allows parents to lock their kids’ phones from afar if they’re ignoring calls, with a password of the parent’s choosing. After the parent does so, the only way that the kid will be able to unlock his phone is to call the parent and ask for the password.

The applications are obvious. Say your teen claimed she’d come home at 5 p.m. but is nowhere to be seen. You, a concerned parent, call to see if she is OK (or perhaps to scold her). Before Ignore No More, the teen would’ve just muted the call, returned to whatever teen activity she was partaking in, and later made up an excuse that she didn’t hear the phone ring.

“It was on Silent mode!” she would protest, skulking up to her room.

But now the parent can remotely lock her phone with this app. She’ll be unable to access any of the things that are imperative to keeping abreast of her many digital social circles. She’ll have no one to call but you — or 911.

The app, according to CBS New York, was created by Sharon Standifird, a mom who was fed up with being digitally brushed off by her teens. After coming up with the idea, she researched how to code an app and then spent months working with developers to bring it to reality. 

Her son, Bradley, is only half-proud of his mom. “Um, well, I thought it was a good idea,” he told CBS. “But for other people, not me.”

Here’s how it works:

1. Download the app and create an account.

The app will ask for your basic information. This will be the only account you need to use across the family. Don’t share your login information with your teens, as they will swiftly find a way to disable the app.

2. Find your kids’ phones and download Ignore No More once again.

Yes, this means the app will cost $1.99 per phone you want to use it on. Not the cheapest solution, but a solid one! Launch it and log in with the same information you used to create the original account. You’ll get a screen that asks if you’re setting it up for a parent or a child. Unless you’re imposing parental lock authority on your spouse, you should select Child.

Ignore No More setup screen

3. Enter your child’s name.

Ignore No More setup screen

4. A screen full of permissions will pop up. Select Activate.

5. Here’s the tricky part: You’ll need to exit the app and open up your Contacts folder. Under the Groups section, you’ll want to scroll down until you see ICE - emergency contacts.

Smartphone contacts screen
Smartphone contacts screen

6. Select that category. The only number it contains may very well be 911. Add your number and email, along with any other contact you’d like your child to try when her phone is locked.

Ignore No More screenshot

Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed this very invasive app onto your likely-bitter child’s phone. 

7. The next time you’d like to use it to track down your little one, open the app on your phone and select the name of your AWOL kin. 

Ignore No More screenshot

8. Create a passcode and then select the option to lock your kid’s phone. Then call your teen. If she doesn’t pick up, her phone will be immediately locked. 

Ignore No More screenshot

It’s important to note that if you don’t immediately call your child after locking his phone, the app will kick in at an unspecified time and you may have to wait an hour or two for him to desperately call.

9. Bask in the glory of outsmarting your Millennial. Tell him you don’t want him hanging out with that Brian anymore. 

You can download the Android app here. An iPhone version is apparently in the works. 

Follow Alyssa Bereznak on Twitter or email her.