Kids Turn Technology Around On Adults, Once Again

from the ringtone-reversal dept

Late last year, we wrote about how some British shopkeepers were trying to drive teenaged troublemakers away from their storefronts by playing an annoying high-pitched noise that's inaudible to adults but can be heard by young people. As often happens with these things, some teens in the UK recorded the noise and began using it as a ringtone. Smelling an opportunity, the security company that makes the "mosquito box" equipment for store owners began selling it, and now, thanks to the magic of the internet, American kids are getting in on the fun, using the noise as a ringtone to avoid being detected by teachers or parents. But some adults are adapting, with one local council in Australia playing something kids aren't likely to pick up as a ringtone in an attempt to keep them away: Barry Manilow's greatest hits.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Jus B, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 9:50am

    I agree with you derek, I think the words were wrong in the story though, I will assume that the sound, isnt a sound that only kids can hear... I think its simply an annoying sound, who would stand near a speaker that plays a single noted sound that jus sounds bothersome, I wouldnt, and I don t think adults are bothered because they dont stand at shop-fronts. But I do give the kids props for using the same sound as a ringtone... kinda like a Middle finger to shop owners

     

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  2.  
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    mcc, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 9:50am

    Actually....

    You can check it out at NPR. Being in my mid thirties, I can hear it, but only with my noise canceling headphones. My friend in her 20s can hear it pretty well through her speakers.

     

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  3.  
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    mms, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 9:50am

    35 & and can hear it fine

    To me, this compares kids to dogs. Certain high pitched tones can be heard by dogs but not humans. Kids are not dogs. I am thinking the Barry Manilow approach is fairly accurate however, the noise thing where kids can hear and adults dont, bogus.

     

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  4.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 12th, 2006 @ 9:50am

    Pfoof That Manilow Music Moves People

     

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  5.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 12th, 2006 @ 9:50am

    I Was Pretty Much Wrong On This

    Christopher Wanjek at Livescience.com gives the answer to the issue of whether this story is bunk or not: It is not. There is some merit to the claim that younger ears can hear higher frequencies better. http://www.livescience.com/humanbiology/060718_bad_hearing.html

     

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  6.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 12th, 2006 @ 9:50am

    Doubter

    Hmmm. Call me doubting Thomas, but this story doesn't sound right to me. I'm willing to bet that the main factor is that the ringtone is relatively quiet, and that the teacher is just too far away to hear it. With sound in a classroom, an inverse square law applies (assuming that the ceiling and floor of the class are reflective): that is if the teacher is 7 meters from the phone, and the student is 0.5 meters from the phone, the student hears a sound 196 times stronger by simple virtue of proximity. This isn't an area of expertise for me, but my guess is that human audible range stays rather consistent throughout life, up to ~60 years, when hearing generally degrades. And what's even more obvious, but never got discussed in the story, is that there's a function called 'vibrate' which already does an admirable job of excluding your teacher from the tickle in your pocket. Anyone out there got any scientific basis for significantly decreased audible tonal range with age?

     

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  7.  
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    Pete, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 10:55am

    this dosent work

    due to the way the mobile is set up they cant reach the true pitch needed which if i remember correctly is 18khz (dont quote me) but mobile phones cant reach more than 10 ....

     

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  8.  
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    Pete, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 10:56am

    this dosent work

    due to the way the mobile is set up they cant reach the true pitch needed which if i remember correctly is 18khz (dont quote me) but mobile phones cant reach more than 10 ....

     

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  9.  
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    Shawn, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 10:58am

    Silly adults

    this has been circulating for months, there are whole websites devoted to discussing this. As Petey there said Cellphone speakers can't come close to generating the "Mosquito" noise.

     

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  10.  
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    david, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 11:12am

    maybe i should publish a paper...

    doesn't matter if it's not 18khz as long as it's out of adult hearing range, which - if my parents are any indication - is about 10khz. yes i know it's not nice to do experiments on people, but what's a budding sound engineer to do?

    p.s. 10khz was the lower limit for sound that they "didn't notice." but if i played that tone for them, they could tell me when it was on. so yes they can hear 10khz, but it doesn't get their attention.

     

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  11.  
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    Hosehead, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 11:14am

    Go Brown

    Play the brown noise :)
    Then they will find themselves running to the bathroom instead of hanging out near the shops.

     

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  12.  
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    Ron, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 11:20am

    Barry Manilow

    I wonder how Barry Manilow feels now knowing that his music is being used as a pest deterrent.

     

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  13.  
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    Wolfger, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 11:27am

    ...

    At the Copa! Copa Cabana!

     

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  14.  
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    Tater, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 11:42am

    Re: Barry Manilow

    He's laughing all the way to the bank.

     

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  15.  
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    VPR, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 11:45am

    I wonder how Barry Manilow feels now knowing that his music is being used as a pest deterrent.

    I'd imagine he's happy about it. Someone wants his music.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 12:35pm

    how gay!

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 2:34pm

    Barbara Strisand?

    Barley Man-enough and his all nose band....!

     

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  18.  
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    Petréa Mitchell, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 3:20pm

    A step forward

    I think this ringtone is mostly a good thing. Think of all the people who now get to be bothered by a few fewer cell phones ringing in public spaces.

    Unfortunately, I'm one of those adults who still can hear really high-pitched noises...

     

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  19.  
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    Becca McDonald, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 7:59pm

    some clarification....

    I thought I might add some information as I am an audiologist. While I have not heard this new ringtone, I can tell you that this so-called "adult hearing loss" is really noise induced hearing loss which usually occurs at 3K, 4K, 6K and 8K Hz. Alot of times, it will appear as a notch at one of the above frequencies. I would like to know where the sound is so that I can test it out. I can put it in a test box and see which frequency it is broadcasting.

    I guess the last thing I will say is this: If you have kids and are having problems hearing the ringtone, please get your hearing tested.

    Becca McDonald

     

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  20.  
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    wanderer, Jun 12th, 2006 @ 11:47pm

    Re: some clarification....

    japan uses some high-frequencies boxes to scare away cats and dogs from some buildings & gardens
    ( in Tokyo at least ) - my wife never hear them, while I do..
    must be the same system...

     

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  21.  
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    Juan, Jun 14th, 2006 @ 6:42am

    IT WORKS!

    The ringtone works on my phone (Treo 650)....i can hear it perfectly (im 16) but i must admit its pretty damn annoying

     

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  22.  
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    J, Jun 20th, 2006 @ 5:43pm

    Re: this dosent work

    yes it does. My husband 46 can't hear the tone I can 36 but I have migraines and have always had trouble with higher tones.

     

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  23.  
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    irayna, Jun 20th, 2006 @ 6:01pm

    painful

    i find it kind of funny that most people find this noise so annoying, because it sounds exactly like the noises that everything electrical makes. the tv...the computer...the fridge...the radio...they're all painful to my ears and most people are deaf to it. anyone know what i mean?

     

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  24.  
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    Ella C., Apr 20th, 2008 @ 1:54pm

    mosquito

    I have the mosquito ringtone and i...oops...use it in class! my ancient teacher cant hear it so! ha ha Mrs. Feilder!!! i know its not good but i thinks its cool that kids turned it around on the grown-ups. so... ya!

     

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  25.  
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    elise siller, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 1:55pm

    Re: you stupid butt

    your gay, buddy!

     

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  26.  
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    Mrs. Susanna Richards, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 2:23pm

    teachers veiw on this toy

    I am a 8th grade math teacher and a young man in my class had this ringtone. i, being a grown woman, can not hear this sound. My husband and I have a 12 year niece and she and her little friends have cellular phones and ringing tunes. one of them has the 'mosquito' tune. we had a litle test and i could not hear it at all. the next day i heard the kids talking about it in class. I took them to the principle at once, for i knew what it was now. For over a moth they were 'texting' in the classroom. i dislike it very very much. they are missing out on vital learning time. i think it should maybe even be illigal.

     

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  27.  
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    Aprilanna Hope Johnsons, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 2:50pm

    Mrs. Susanna Richards is stupid

    HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAA!

     

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  28.  
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    Judy, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 7:16am

    Re: Actually....

    I cant hear it and im 24. I think its pretty funny and wish i had it in school. But i would never use it. it's annoying.

     

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  29.  
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    nasch, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Actually....

    Ouch, that hurts - I'm 34. That would certainly get me to deal with my phone. I wonder if I just haven't suffered hearing damage that most people have, or if I'm a freak, or what. I think most people my age are like you - can't hear it or can barely hear it. I couldn't turn it off fast enough.

     

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