Saturday, January 24, 2009

Anti-Teen Buzz, Buzz Off

I realize this has also been presented on The Minor's blog, but these "torture tone" Mosquito applications for the Ipod have caused such an array of international controversy.

By actual teen accounts, they don't actually "torture" or sound all that unbearable, and some adults can hear them as well, but the idea that a product could be sold on the basis that it could be used to "torture" young people is an obvious act of anti-youth discrimination. It is doubtful how profitable these applications would have been anyways, considering Apple's main market is youths.

Kathleen Marshall, Scotland's Children's Commissioner, disagrees. She promised action on the program and said: "The UN committee on the rights of the child has expressed concern about the use of the Mosquito devices on which this product is based. It is shocking that a product can be marketed with the aim of annoying or torturing' teenagers."
Steven Kidd, its development officer, said: "Whilst we're sure many teens consider school to be torture, we doubt that there could be any educational use of the application. We hope that Apple will recognise "Teen Torture" as another cynical attempt to demonise law-abiding young people and move quickly to remove the item from its online store."
The proponents of the unregulated use of these frequencies show us just how ignorant an individual can be. This frequency does nothing to prevent "teen nuisance," and "anti-social behavior." In reality, it is an indiscriminate harm that only spurs on further teen retaliation. Think it's a harmless product? According to the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the use of ultrasonic noise channels is not entirely safe, particularly for children.

"The risk to the target group of teenagers and young adults is relatively low. They can leave the area when they hear the sound. On the other hand small children and infants are especially at risk, due to lengthy exposure to the sound, because the adults themselves do not perceive the noise. Moreover, the ultrasound affects not only hearing. Disruption of the equilibrium senses, as well as other extra-aural effects are well known. With the sound levels that can be reached by the device, the onset of dizziness, headache and impairment is to be expected. This is not the limit of the total risks to safety and health.[10]"

This indiscriminate use targets youths and children regardless of whether they are misbehaving or not, and only serves to further demonize young and turn age groups against each other. In light of this, some teens have been able to go commercial with recordings of these so-called "annoying" frequencies and use them to pass messages on cell phones that adults, such as teachers and parents, will not be able to hear. It's called "Teen Buzz."

A secondary school teacher in Cardiff said: 'All the kids were laughing about something, but I didn't know what. They know phones must be turned off during school. They could all hear somebody's phone ringing but I couldn't hear a thing."
It's obvious that not only does it not "torture teens," but it doesn't provide proper discipline, it can't be used as an educational device, it spurns on youth retaliation, and its indiscriminate use has been found to be harmful. It's just another example of how adults feel they can buy "peace of mind" by being anti-youth and remaining ignorant.

Of course, the makers feel the controversy stirred up by marketing a product that infringes on human rights is the best advertising they don't have to buy, and boast about it on their website! Business will be business, and bigots will be bigots.


  1. It's totally fine if you want to add your perspective.

    That aside, you're totally right about it: it doesn't provide discipline, it isn't an educational device, and if my parents were to seriously use it I wouldn't listen to them at all. Still, the app's a total joke and immature.

  2. It's funny you call it immature. The original title I had going for this post was "Anti-Teen Buzz? Just Grow Up!"

    I love that irony.