Kent Council bans 'anti-teen' gadget
Council bans 'anti-teen' gadget
Kent County Council in south east England has become one of the first in the UK to ban mosquito gadgets from its buildings.
The devices send out high-pitched sounds which can only be heard by young people.
They're used to try and stop groups of young people hanging out around shops and town centres.
But lots of people think they're not a fair way to treat young people, and should be scrapped.
Usually, adults can't hear them, because as you get older your hearing gets worse, meaning you can't hear high-pitched noises as well.
Around 3,500 of them are used across England in shopping centres, parks and shops, to try and stop bad behaviour.
Councillors in Kent brought in the ban after talking to young people, and are now planning to ask the government to ban them altogether.
The Children's Commissioner for England, Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green, has launched a campaign to get rid of them, called "Buzz Off".
“These devices are indiscriminate and target all children and young people, including babies, regardless of whether they are behaving or misbehaving,” Sir Al told the BBC. “The use of measures such as these are simply demonising children and young people, creating a dangerous and widening divide between the young and the old.”
He added: "This device is a quick fix. It's not tackling the root of the problem and it's indiscriminate."
The campaign has won the support of human rights groups including Liberty, whose director, Shami Chakrabarti, described it as a "sonic weapon directed against children and young people".
"What type of society uses a low-level sonic weapon on its children? Imagine the outcry if a device was introduced that caused blanket discomfort to people of one race or gender, rather than to our kids," she said.
Meanwhile in Scotland, work to get mosquitoes, sometimes called "teen tormentors", banned, has been under way since last year.
The Mosquito was invented by Howard Stapleton in 2005, and was originally tested at one location in Barry, South Wales, where it was successful in reducing the number of teenagers loitering near a grocery store.
The Mosquito alarm is an electronic device which emits high-frequency sounds, similar to the buzz of a mosquito, the insect (approximately 17.4 kHz at 85dB). Because the ability to hear high frequencies deteriorates in humans with age (a phenomenon known as presbycusis), the noise is most commonly audible to younger persons.
The device is marketed for use as a safety and security tool for preventing anti-social behaviour such as gang loitering which can often lead to graffiti, vandalism, drug usage, drug distribution, as well as violence. It is very popular in the UK, with some 3500 in use, mostly by shopkeepers and police authorities. The device is also being sold in Canada and the USA.
A British paper, metro.co.uk, reports that resourceful teenagers have devised a way to make the ringing of their mobile phones inaudible to adults. The trick is that they've recorded the sound of the Mosquito, which is a device that emits ultrasonic tones inaudible to most people over the age of twenty-five, but quite audible, and rather annoying, to people under the age of 25.
I very much doubt that the speakers used in mobile phones are capable of reproducing sound as high as 17.4K, any mobile phone (cellphone) experts here?