high school installs “mosquito” to keep students moving along

this just seems nuts to me, almost abusive. i’m sure you’ve heard of the “mosquito ring tone“; but in case you haven’t: the high pitched sound is able to be heard by (roughly) those under 25, but not older ears. it was originally developed as an anti-loitering device (mainly used outside stores and such). but teenagers quickly co-opted it, and it’s now an extremely popular ringtone for teenagers (they can hear text messages coming in during school, but their teachers can’t).

but now, the “safety and security” thing is being used by the very people charged with training, educating, and caring for teenagers. short story: the administration of a public school have installed the mosquito tone in the hallways of the school to keep kids from loitering.

for their safety.


wait. really?

i mean, if it were REALLY about the safety and security of the students, why did you — mr administrator — choice an annoyance that you cannot personally hear. if you’re going to choose annoyance to placate your own annoyance, why not just toss out tacks on the floor; or maybe hire carrot top to stand in the hallway. or, better yet — mr “i really can’t stand teenagers, and only keep this job because i like annoying people” administrator — why don’t you just stand in the hallway yourself.

ok. i’m ranting.

but i’m just baffled that this would be allowed. i’m baffled that parents haven’t risen up. i understand that high schoolers can be, well, troublesome. fair enough; you might need the occasional “nothing to see here, ma’am, move along.” but not a constant annoyance in the name of “safety and security.”


ok, here’s the article about this, from the chicago tribune

here’s a little snippet from the article:

Jefferson High School administrators have a new way to get students to move along between classes rather than congregate in the hallway.

Annoy them.

In the past week, the school installed a “mosquito.” The $800 machine, developed in Wales, emits a high-pitched noise that teens can hear but most adults over 25 can’t.

The idea is to keep students flowing rather than block the stairs and elevator in one particular first-floor hallway.

5 thoughts on “high school installs “mosquito” to keep students moving along”

  1. To play devil’s advocate, I can see why the school would want to put one in this particular location for the fire hazard reason. Still, I agree with you that someone there to break up the student loitering/macking would be the better method.

  2. 2 Things:
    Didn’t they learn from the creators that it didn’t work…teens simply hijacked it…I’m interested to see how teens use it to their advantage in this situation


    What about the teachers who can hear it…the young and fresh out of college, the old guys like me (35) who can hear it just fine thank you very much…All I can foresee is a small group of irritated teachers and maybe a lawsuit 5-10 years from now when they discover that it causes some kind of ear injury/cancer that was a previously unknown side effect.

  3. A couple of things
    1) I’m not sure that I see a problem with it. From the article, it seems like that was a problem area in the school because of the emergency exit and fire hazards and what-not and the “nothing to see here, move along” wasn’t working. The students interviewed say that it’s more annoying than painful and it helps the get to class on time and that they don’t really mind it.

    2)The sound isn’t preventing students from loitering in all areas of the school between classes, just the place where loitering could be an issue of safety if getting out of the building quickly was a necessity. Who knows, maybe after this school year they won’t need the machine because students have found another place to hang out between classes.

  4. I’ve said it a million times before and I’ll say it again. Re-do this story but instead make it a sound only perceivable by say women or Canadians or senior citizens and there would be OUTRAGE.

    But since it’s teenagers it’s okay, because nobody cares about them right?

    This makes me sick. Whether the individual students mind it or not is a non-issue, it’s still representative of viewing teens as sub-people, half-people, almost-people instead of valued members of our society.

    If it really, truly is a safety issue. Let’s put a klaxon in there for everyone to hear, let’s put in speakers that constantly Rick-Roll that whole hallway. Let’s put something the produces a foul smelling gas. Basically if it’s really all about a safety issue let’s do something that’s just as onerous to people of all ages.

    But they won’t, because teenagers aren’t real people anyway.

  5. My job as an Anti Social Behaviour Reduction Officer sees me looking on a daily basis at anything that can “do exactly as it says on the tin” “Mosquito” has been badged as a revolutionary new device that has been specifically designed to disperse groups of teenagers from loitering in areas that they are not wanted. With an effective range of between fifteen and twenty meters, the field trials have shown that teenagers are acutely aware of the Mosquito and usually move away from the area within just a couple of minutes. I looked into this great idea for an instant cure for a “youth anti social issue” It seems that there is a medical phenomenon known as presbycusis or age related hearing loss which, is the loss of hearing that gradually occurs in most individuals as they grow older. Hearing loss is a common disorder associated with ageing. About 30-35 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 75 years have a hearing loss. It is estimated that 40-50 percent of people 75 and older have a hearing loss. According to The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, this begins after the age of 20 but is usually significant only in persons over 65. It first affects the highest frequencies (18 to 20 kHz) notably in those who have turned 20 years of age. It is possible to generate this high frequency sound that is audible only to teenagers. The Mosquito is essentially a sounder unit that emits a very high (ultra-sonic). The longer someone is exposed to the sound, the more annoying it becomes. Teenagers are acutely aware of the Mosquito and usually move away from the area within just a couple of minutes. Sainsburys are amongst Several big retail companies actively using the device and somerfield too are contemplating following. But the Anti social youth make up 1.3 % of the youth population so is this unit blanketing and tarring all youth with the same brush. What about the young mum on her way into the shops to get a pint of milk, The law abiding trainee mechanic and the two college students aren’t all these affected too. I think it is established that this measure is effective but does it breach Human rights. Does this justify the use of such a tool and will it not just move the problem small percentage of youth into the dark alley where they can cause more alarm to the public. Should these companies not be looking at community unification and working with police and local communities in trying to find alternative places and funding for youth projects. Its well known that these companies thrive well in the communities where their shops are situated. I wont be advising anyone to purchase one of these and will be watching closely to see if a young person will be challenging the human rights issue. Ian Whiteway

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