Many parents feel technology is taking over when it comes to their young ones.
"They sit on the couch and they use their cellphones and one would think that they were texting or searching for something important. In all actuality they are texting each other sitting two feet away from each other," dad Eric Vreeken said.
For Vreeken, constantly watching his two kids on their phones inspired him to create a brand new app for cellphones and tablets. Vreeken has never made an app before, but outsourced with ILMP, a company based in India to develop the app.
"We are in an age of digital distraction. As devices get smaller, more features, as they become more user-friendly kids will only use them more," Vreeken said.
The "Study Lock" is an app for parents to install on their kid's phones. It forces users to answer academic questions in order to unlock their phones.
Reporter Melissa Sheketoff: Wait...I can't get into my phone yet?
Eric Vreeken: It appears your parent has configured that you answer at least six questions before you get onto your phone.
Melissa Sheketoff: What? MOM!
Parents can configure the settings to ensure that their kids cannot delete the app or fix the settings. Questions are chosen based on age and grade level, and cover math, science, history, literature and general knowledge.
The app is available in two versions. The free version allows only 50 questions per grade level. If users pay $3.99 for the second version each grade level offers 1,000 questions. Vreeken says the app is not only an educational tool, but also a way to give parents control. But with an app that works 24-7, I had to wonder.
Melissa Sheketoff: Picture this, I'm being chased and I need to call emergency immediately. So, immediately I don't have to answer who the 37th president is?
Eric Vreeken: No, you don't. Just click unlock and click 911.
Good thing they thought of that. And Vreeken says this app isn't all bells and whistles for the parents, kids can benefit, too.
"Kids will actually get points based on questions they get right, the answers they provide and how fast they do. Those points are used to determine the winners of the contests that we have," Vreeken said.
Twice a year the app awards contest winners with either a $1,000 scholarship or brand new tablets. And although some kids won't like the idea of their parents hearing about this new app, other kids don't mind the thought at all.
"I feel OK with it. I mean, my parents are kind of strict anyways, so I wouldn't mind it," said Samantha Bulriss, a Beekmantown Middle School student.
An app to keep the wheels turning while the fingers are dialing.
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