While the concept of using ultrasonic frequencies to drive away unwanted pests is not exactly new, the new gadget known as a Mosquito Teen Repeller has definitely changed the target demographic from rodents and insects to loitering teenagers. The device delivers a high-pitched noise which many audiologists suggest can only be heard by humans under the age of 20, although some older adults claim they can also hear the annoying sound.
Teens loitering in store parking lots or common areas in shopping malls can become a serious liability for store owners and a security threat to customers. Discouraging teenagers from congregating, however, is generally easier said than done, and many efforts to disperse crowds actually create more problems than they solve. This is the situation which led to the development of the Mosquito Teen Repeller. A store owner in England agreed to test the device after plans to pipe classical music over a loudspeaker fell through.
The initial sound generated by a Mosquito Teen Repeller may be a little unpleasant to a teen's ear, but it shouldn't prevent him or her from conducting routine business in a store. After several minutes, however, the ultrasonic noise becomes quite annoying, especially when delivered at 75 decibels. Teens who would ordinarily loiter in front of a store for hours are often driven away by the Mosquito Teen Repeller within a half hour.
While the actual field results of the Mosquito Teen Repeller have been decidedly mixed, there is no doubt the high-pitched noise does get noticed. Unfortunately, the noise can also be heard by young adults and others with sensitive hearing. This means a number of potential adult customers may be inadvertently driven away by the same noise intended to discourage teenagers. There is even some discussion of modifying the Mosquito Teen Repeller to work as a non-lethal method for dispersing large crowds of young protesters or rioters.
The technology which makes the Mosquito Teen Repeller so effective against teenagers has now become a technology embraced by teens and young adults. The so-called "teen buzz" frequency used to drive away teenagers from stores and malls is now used as secretive ring tones in cellphones. Adult teachers and parents cannot hear this frequency, but teens can still hear their cellphones ringing during classes.
Because the disruptive ultrasonic frequencies can still be heard by a number of adults, implementation of Mosquito Teen Repeller systems has been somewhat limited. It may still be possible to improve the device by selecting a higher frequency less likely to bother adults or by limiting its use to times when an actual problem has been reported by customers or staff.