Friday, February 22, 2008

Boingboing: "Teen-repellent ultrasonic device violates kids' rights"

I knew that taste buds dull as one ages, but I did not know that one's hearing does the same. Boingboing reports that the Mosquito device, a small machine that emits an obnoxious sound that only youngsters can hear, is causing widespread controversy, at least among those who aren't filthy rotten age-ist middle-aged beefheads.

The manufacturer (whose American import site is registered to the charming domain
) has a terrifically-insensitive blurb promoting the product on their site:

Are gatherings of teenagers and young adults affecting your business and your profits?

The Mosquito ultrasonic teenage deterrent is the solution to the eternal problem of unwanted gatherings of youths and teenagers in shopping malls and around shops. The presence of these teenagers discourages genuine shoppers and customers’ [sic - I may be under 30 but I know how to use an apostrophe] from coming to your shop, affecting your turnover and profits.

The Mosquito is PERFECTLY SAFE and based on the same technology SAFELY used by millions of teenagers as a cell-phone ringtone.

Acclaimed by the Police forces of many areas of the United Kingdom, the Mosquito ultrasonic teenage deterrent has been described as “the most effective tool in our fight against anti social behavior”. Shop keepers around the world have purchased the device to move along unwanted gatherings of teenagers and anti social youths. Railway companies have placed the device to discourage youths from spraying graffiti on their trains and the walls of stations.

Bad ol' grownups, discriminating on their past selves. Check this site to see if you're old and decrepit enough not to hear the sounds.

The flip side: wouldn't it be great if we could make one of these for old people, specifically those who have purchased the Mosquito Civil Rights Violation Device? The sight of a dozen grumpy shopowners bleeding profusely from the ears would be better for the youth movement than the simple vandalism that I usually authorize. Speaking of which, I think it's time to go give a couple of Mosquitos in my neighborhood a taste of soda, right down the ol' circuitboard. . .

UPDATE: In a typical fit of shortsighted righteous indignation, I sent the American importer this e-mail message. Wade through the quote marks if you dare:


Just a quick beef: while I am well out of the age range quite literally "targeted" by the "Mosquito" product that you import, I find the device about as charming as "Colored" and "White" signs on 1950s storefronts. While your intentions may be honorable (and I'm sure that you're very nice ageists), I consider the "Mosquito" a mild form of targeted assault.

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