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Teens Turn 'Repeller' into Adult-Proof Ringtone

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Teens Turn 'Repeller' into Adult-Proof Ringtone

Teens Turn 'Repeller' into Adult-Proof Ringtone

Teens Turn 'Repeller' into Adult-Proof Ringtone

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5434687/5434835" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The war between teens and authority figures has a new — or old — front: ears. British shopkeepers tired of teenage loiterers have turned to the Mosquito teen repellent, which emits a high-pitch frequency that most teenagers can hear — but not most adults.

But now teens have struck back against the Mosquito: They are using the same sound to communicate without adults' knowledge.

Hear the Teen Buzz...

(If You're Able)

At issue is a text-message ringtone that emits the same pitch as the Mosquito. Using it, students can learn about a new message while they're in class — where they're not supposed to be using their cellphones. Most of their teachers can't hear the alert.

Inventor Howard Stapleton, creator of the Mosquito teen repellent, says only a few people over age 30 can hear the Mosquito's sound. He and his 16-year-old daughter Isabel talk to Melissa Block about the sound, which has been dubbed "Teen Buzz."