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Written on June 13, 2006, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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New York kids have downloaded a sound devised to drive them from malls and other commercial areas where they are not wanted – “Teen Repellent” – and repurposed it for their ringtones and text message alerts.

The sound is extremely high pitched and can only be heard by youths who have not suffered the hearing loss that accompanies adulthood, when the ceiling for sound perception drops from around 20khz to 16khz. This means that their mobile phones can ring undetected under the very noses – um, ears – of teachers who have of course banned such uses of technology in the classroom.

The cleverness of this subterfuge has even impressed the Welsh company responsble for developing the sound who have made an MP3 available on their website.

The anti-teen use of noise and music has a history. In Sydney, Australia, they have been using Barry Manilow to drive kids away. In Saskatoon, Canada it’s classical music. But I think this marks a turning point. Inventor Howard Stapleton has hit on something far more profound than just a sound which teenagers can hear and adults cannot. In our misguided efforts to control the present by excluding the future (children), we have unwittingly opened up a new front in the wars of perception, in which teenagers have instantly gained and can easily maintain the edge, for the simple reason that teenagers will always be far quicker, more inventive and more adaptable than their elders.

It won’t stop at sound, either. There are many differences between adults and teenagers, physical, emotional, perceptual, moral, all of which are now open to exploitation. And, now that this war has been declared, you can expect teenagers to take the initiative and start to win on a regular basis.

Copacobana coming soon to a mobile phone near you…

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This thing has 4 Comments

  1. Laurie
    Posted 14 June, 2006 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Damn. I remember when I was of the teenage generation that the adults were threatened by. Could it really be than I’m the adult now?

    What? What did you say? I didn’t hear you.

  2. karma
    Posted 14 June, 2006 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    haha what will they think of next!

  3. China Blue
    Posted 14 June, 2006 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Well, at least this way their ringtones will only annoy them.

  4. Brian W
    Posted 7 March, 2008 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    try this site for teen buzz / mosquito ringtones : http://www.sneakyringtones.com

    You can download and use the tone that you can hear. All for free

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