1. ITV Report

Father creates phone alarm app that torments children until they reply to messages

Nick Herbert got so sick of his son ignoring calls that he designed an app to force him to reply. Credit: National News

Hold the line? Not a chance.

A frustrated father who could never get hold of his son has designed a phone app that torments text recipients until they respond.

Nick Herbert, 45, turned to technology after becoming frustrated with his 13-year-son Ben constantly screening his calls.

His ReplyASAP app locks the recipient's phone and plays a constant alarm until they send a reply - even if the sound is turned off.

Parents also receive a message saying that their message has been read.

Mr Herbert is now selling the app and thinks it could be a hit with other communication-challenged families.

He admits the app might be seen as intrusive and his son may judge it to be "the bane of his life". But he says it's worth it to know he can get in contact.

ReplyASAP takes over the message recipient's phone. Credit: ReplyASAP

Mr Herbert, of West Wickham, south east London, said he bought his son a smartphone to keep in touch - but the teenager would play games than respond to messages.

He is always playing games and has the phone on silent. It drives me crazy.

I'm hoping the app will make our relationship better.

It will alleviate the stress when I can't get hold of him as I will know that he has seen my message.

– Nick Herbert

He spent eight months developing the app, which is now available online.

It costs from just 99p to send messages to one person, up to £12.99 to reach up to 20 people.

Mr Herbert thinks the app could prove popular with other parents. Credit: PA

It does require that both the sender and recipient download the app, and won't work if the phone is turned off.

Mr Herbert also admits that's he's not yet seen able to use it on his son, as the app currently only works on Android but Ben has an iPhone.

However, he says that he's confident that it will improve their communication.

"Will it be the bane of his life?," he asked.

"Maybe, I'm not going to be using it all the time to speak to him. It is supposed to be a failsafe."