November 29, 2005 6:31 AM PST

What's the buzz? Teens can't stand it

A device called the Mosquito emits a high-frequency sound meant to drive youthful troublemakers away.
The New York Times

The story "What's the buzz? Teens can't stand it" published November 29, 2005 at 6:31 AM is no longer available on CNET News.

Content from The New York Times expires after 7 days.

182 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Most teens.....
Most teens walk around with headphones/earbuds
They won't even hear the sound if their music is on. If they are talking to each other I doubt they could hear this thing also. This is probably vaporware

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://otherthingsnow.blogspot.com" target="_newWindow">http://otherthingsnow.blogspot.com</a>
Posted by SqlserverCode (165 comments )
Reply Link Flag
... sort of
Unfortunately, being someone who can hear dog whistles from
time to time, I can attest to the fact that other sound does not
usually manage to drown out very high frequency sound. High
end sounds tend to hold prominence (if you look at a graph of
human hearing response, you'll see a clear upward trend)... so
headphones wouldn't do much to drown it out.

This device could be considered terrorism, really. It is offensive
to the senses- devices like these have been used as torture
devices. It's sort of like reaching into an individual's ears from
several feet a way and gently inserting a pin directly into their
ear drum. You much less hear high-frequency sound than feel it,
in a very painful painful way. Frankly, I'm surprised we don't
have any of these in use in Iraq already- the government has
already shown interest in sense-manipulating weapons such as
the microwave gun. This sucks.
Posted by drewhowe--2008 (12 comments )
Link Flag
Only Out of America
Is this some kind of joke? I'm no teenager, but this is ridiculous. Does Wales lack the ways and means and political power to effectively combat loitering?

Good thing Guffy "emitted a batlike squeak" for us, or we would have no idea how "indeed bothersome" him and his invention really are.
Posted by Soupir (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Its not from america is it?
Doesn't it say in the article that it is being tested in South Wales?
and that the guy had the idea while visiting a factory in London.
Posted by jedbroadbent (5 comments )
Link Flag
Idiot
What the hell does America have to do with this, you idiot. READ. This takes place in Wales. It is people like you who are bothersome and the more people like "Guffy" can get under your skin, the better.
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
Hah!
And you think America does??

Been to downtown L.A. recently? We have specialized gang units who can't even get the gangs to stop hanging out and obstructing even our residential streets.
Posted by ms.phitt (8 comments )
Link Flag
a dumb idea
if a store did this where i live, i would purposly gather everyone to hang out at that store just to prove a point!
Posted by digitallysick (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What point?
What point would that be?
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
I agree,
What a stupid idea. Most teenagers that normally cause the trouble would purposly only do worse. And the little mosquito would only get more unwanted attention.
__________________________________
R.K.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.Remove-All-Spyware.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.Remove-All-Spyware.com/</a>
Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
Link Flag
And I guess...
...the point you would be proving is how profoundly stupid you are.
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
What point would you be proving?
That you're a ten year old that likes to annoy others by loitering outside other people's businesses?

Besides, if this works as well as it says, you and your gang of 7th graders wouldn't last 15 minutes.
Posted by mwa423 (78 comments )
Link Flag
Bad Vibes
This whole idea just rubs me the wrong way. It seems very discriminatory. Why should a legitimate teenage customer who is NOT loitering have to pass through an area specifically designed to be unpleasant to ONLY them? Just doesn't seem right, and I hope their business suffers accordingly.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
"Why should a legitimate teenage customer who is NOT loitering have to pass through an area"

What if a store doesnt have any legitimate teenage customers? For that matter, what if its an office parking lot, not a retail stores lot?

Besides, if its just a annoying buzz, walking a few seconds from the the car to the front door doesnt sound like a big deal.
Posted by (402 comments )
Link Flag
Infringement of Civil Rights?
I think that such a device is an infringement on civil rights.
To scientifically design a device that irritates only a segment of population is exclusionary and perhaps illegal.

I would like to go to this store, and stand on the sidewalk. Then ask the owner to turn it off. If he does not, I would sue him.
Posted by southmiamiman (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Illegal?
I think "discriminatory" would be a more accurate word than "exclusionary".

However, on what basis do you claim it would be "perhaps illegal"? You think that somehow because it only affects people with good hearing, there's some law against just that? Or you think there's a law against the "intention" behind the device?

There is no such thing. The only proper backlash against something like this is simply to take your business elsewhere. A shop owner is within their rights to do this just as much as they would be for playing classical music.

Just go somewhere else, or try to convince the police the shop owner is breaking noise level laws.

As to your law suit, as long as the law provides for you ponying up the cash to pay the legal fees of all sides, plus a penalty to compensate for court time in a frivolous lawsuit, go right ahead. Just as long as the silly suit costs no one a penny or ounce of time.
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
Cigarette Infringement on my Civil Rights
I find them annoying. Others don't.

I think that such a cigarette is an infringement on civil rights. To scientifically design a cigarette that irritates only a segment of population is exclusionary and perhaps illegal. I would like to go to a bar and ask everyone smoking to stop. If they did not, I would sue them.

How is this any less absurd?
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Backwards Bruce
Sue him for what? Defending his cicvil rights? You nullify your civil rights when you infringe on other people's civil rights Bruce. He can go ahead and sue you back and you both would make your solicitors that much wealthier.
I'm for it - it's a natural harmless deterrent - and you know if a kid comes in weraing earplugs there's a chance he's up to no good.
Posted by kakman1 (50 comments )
Link Flag
Infringement of Civil Rights?
You're an idot !

If I own the property and own the business, I have the right to force anyone to leave. If I wanted to use such a device, it would be my choice. Heck... if I want to prevent cell phone use in my place of business, it's my choice.
Posted by KennyG944 (5 comments )
Link Flag
Electric Fence?
So you'd sue a farmer for having an electric fence? You'd sue a parking lot with bright lights? How about a bank with security cameras?

You forget, when you visit a store - you are not on public property. If they don't want you there - they can make you leave for many reasons... loitering is one of the legal reasons.

Seriously, this device only offends those it's intended to. If you don't hang out in front of the store - you don't get irritated. It's like a squeeky door or buzzing light fixture.
Posted by binaryspiral75 (27 comments )
Link Flag
Sue?!
Get a life! If some poor guy has these chavs outside his store causing trouble, why shouldn't he sue them? Or how about the parents? Or the school? Or the Sun for encouraging chavs!?

What the heck is it with this sueing culture! Get a life people! No wonder I don't live in the UK anymore. Full of idiots that come out with stupid comments....
Posted by beanbaguk (5 comments )
Link Flag
OK People, Its about 50/50
Can a business put up a device that is specifically designed to annoy one segment of the population to stay away from that store?

I think that practice is illegal based on current anti-descrimination laws. Any child will have undue burdon put on them to enter and leave the store.
Posted by southmiamiman (2 comments )
Link Flag
You have no right
You have no more right to tell a store owner to turn off their mosquito then you do to stand at my front door and tell me that you don't like the music that I'm blasting through Dolby 6.1 home theatre system.

My device is discriminatory also, mostly against older people who don't like hearing their music within a one mile radius of their house :-p
Posted by mwa423 (78 comments )
Link Flag
Who's rights are we talking about?
Who exactly are you speaking for? The little ***** who are stealing and causing fights inside and outside this man's store!? You are way off base here. The whole idea behind this is to deter people who are scaring his customer's away for no genuine reason other than to be an a##. He has EVERY RIGHT to do this because it is his 'civil' right. If someone was preventing you from doing your job, where it is the only means that you bring in an income, you would also try to find some way to stop them and your full of crap if you say otherwise.
Posted by jmassey--2008 (12 comments )
Link Flag
Prejudice and bigotry
How is this different from creating a device that drives away [insert an ethnic/racial/age/gender group here]. Persecuting an entire group of people for the actions of individuals is wrong. It would be poetic justice if all of the businesses that employ these bigot devices find themselves lacking their prize 18-25 demographic in a few years because they've shown themselves to be lacking in character...

What is the world coming to?
Posted by mw13068 (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Drive away?
It's only driving away those who are loitering outside. The kids can still go in and shop...the noise isn't being played inside the store.
Posted by Radish555 (36 comments )
Link Flag
re: prejudice and bigotry
So loitering in front of shops and other businesses is a form of free association and thus nothing should be done about it? Apparently signs do not work.
Posted by RichardET (9 comments )
Link Flag
Message has been deleted.
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
Liberal drivel
You make it sound like they're trying to drive kids away from movie theaters.
Get real, they're trying to keep kids from loitering (illegal) outside a place designed for commerce. These kids are not participating in the commerce (or at least not at a level to benefit the store owner and not at a frequency to justify the time spend in front of the store) and they're making it unpleasant for those who are.
I assure you if these kids were spending enough money the store owner would be setting up benches for them rather than trying to drive them away. They're not.
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Link Flag
What is the world coming to?
MAybe we're getting fed up with teen gangs trying to own the turf
when they had nothing to do with creating it. I don't actually
appreciate focusing on any group for actions, except when the
group in question is a serious social problem.

The ultimate solution is always available - if the youngsters acted
politely and weren't deliberately obnoxious, no one would need a
deterrent.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Noise? What noise?
I think this is the greatest invention ever! Sure it is designed for a specific demographic, but adults are not the ones congregating outside these business loitering, stealing, and driving away business. More power to these business owners that have such devices that drive away these crowds and allow legit customers to shop in peace.
Posted by tomyork (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Bigot!
Teens are people too, and most would simply be legit customers.
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
Another winner here....
"Sure it is designed for a specific demographic, but adults are not the ones congregating outside these business loitering, stealing, and driving away business."

How do you know? Rowdy adults create just as many issues with businesses than some kids. And you act as though its about ALL children, not just the problem kids.

""Sure it is designed for a specific demographic, but adults are not the ones..."

This bothers me a bit, it sounds as though if it doesn't effect you, its ok... Remember, history repeats itself, and things like this just tend to take away other luxurys we all take for granted...
Posted by petacos (40 comments )
Link Flag
small technicality. . . .
In response to the infringement of civil rights. . . first - this isn't in America, therefore our law of civil rights is not applicable in this discussion. Second - if it was, this technically would not be an infringment of civil rights, as it is not discriminating against anyone. The device and store owners are not telling teens they cannot shop there, but rather making it uncomfortable to hang around and loiter. Making a person uncomfortable is not against the law. Third - a privately owned company does reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, and while we may not agree with that right, it is a fact of life. These businesses may be hurting their patronage by installing this device, but it within their right to do so.
Posted by raisin girl (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Civil right violation? C'mon
I don't get what this whole violation of civil rights thinking is
about. Is it a civil right to hang out on someone else's property?
Is it a civil right to shoplift? Is it a civil right to loiter? Please.
None of this violates any civil rights and it's in Britain anyway.
Some stores in the US have played classical or opera music to
keep teens from hanging out and I think it's a good idea.
Personally, I am repulsed by most of the musak that stores play
and so wear my Ipod while shopping. Sales people don't bother
me and I can get what I want and leave. The only thing that I
think would violate anyone's civil rights is if they started playing
Micheal Bolton or McDonald. If that happened, I'm on the phone
to the ACLU pronto!
Posted by hal Summers (80 comments )
Reply Link Flag
another stupid argument
no but not all (if many) teens are shoplifiting accosting theives, thats the POINT.
Posted by Underbyte (10 comments )
Link Flag
Enforced Hearing Loss?!!
Not everyone losing their hearing as they get older. HEARING
DOES NOT CHANGE BY AGE, HEARING CHANGES DUE TO USE AND
ABUSE.


Can anyone say Nobel Prize for STUPID!
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bravo!
Cheers to you for saying exactly what I was thinking! I know people over 30 with a wide enough range of hearing that they would probably still hear this device!
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
I love it!
If this ever comes on the market I wont be able to get my credit card out fast enough!

As for a store potentially losing customers...maybe. But often teenage rodents hanging out will disuade other customers from going to that store.
Posted by (402 comments )
Reply Link Flag
BINGO
Enough said.
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
It will never see widespread use
Enough adults can hear the high frequency range to prevent this sort of approach from ever seeing widespread use.

I can envision the scenario where the shopkeeper sees a group of teens loitering and hits a button that causes buzzer to go off for a brief period.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://arbitraryt.blogspot.com/" target="_newWindow">http://arbitraryt.blogspot.com/</a>
Posted by ArbitraryThinker (30 comments )
Reply Link Flag
more useless links ......
nt
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
now that they know the truth
they'll probably go in and beat up the staff.
Posted by (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
scallies, chavs, neds n rajies
I love listening to americans going on about civil liberties. Ever been to hiksville UK?
Certain groups of teenagers can cause loss to business by hanging around out side shops causing menace just by being there. In the UK the police have little or no power to move or disperse such groups of youths. There is no loitering law so if you are a shop owner your basically run to the ground by groups of teens, who aren't the most welcoming site, hanging around outside your store smoking and drinking. Please remember you can smoke before your sixteen and drink bottles of whatever tonic wine you want if you look eighteen in the UK.

Good for Stapleton and the town of Barry for starting a fight back! Try living a small UK town: then you might realise how difficult it can be to go to a shop "up the scheme".
Posted by dgorman (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Season with a little common sense...
"In the UK the police have little or no power to move or disperse such groups of youths."

Why don't your shop keepers, business owners, and citizens in general in these small UK towns pass laws to give the police the authority they seem to so desperately need?

"There is no loitering law so if you are a shop owner your basically run to the ground by groups of teens..."

Once again, this is so very basic. Has anyone considered passing a loitering law?

"Try living a small UK town"

Naaa. I'll pass, not enough elbow room. ;-)

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://goneballistic.info/dayontherange.jpg" target="_newWindow">http://goneballistic.info/dayontherange.jpg</a>
Posted by (62 comments )
Link Flag
He is only
trying to get rid of people loitering who are causing problems... not attempting to discriminate against youths. It just happens that the people causing problems are youths, and that this 'solution' works only at that age group.

The real problem is that these youths can be disruptive and defend it because its their 'civil liberties'

Since when is it someones right to be jerks and disruptive?
Posted by volterwd (466 comments )
Reply Link Flag
this 'solution' works only at that age group.
Wrong

You don't have to be young to be able to hear higher frequencies, and I am willing to bet many of those miscreant spend too much time in clubs and with headphones on, where they might not even hear it even though they are young.

This is a stupid idea. The only way it could be a completely effective deterrent is if the noise was painful. Being uncomfortable will not stop a shoplifter or troublemaker, especially now they know about it and will be easy to avoid it.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
Unacceptable!
This is just unacceptable! First off, this assumes that all of the crimes, such as "storming" and shoplifting are committed by teens. Second, this has a possibility of hurting innocent people. A small example is teen shoplifters enter a store. The device is turned on. This will not only hurt the bad guys, but also any innocent teens in the area.

On a more serious example, say the device is outside of a storefront, that is near a roadway. A teen drives by with the radio off, and the windows down and is all of a sudden paralyzed by this noise. They crash and kill someone. Who is at fault, the teen who was paralyzed by this unknown noise, or the 55 year old storekeeper who wanted to install this device to keep all people under 25 as far from his antiques shop as possible?

There is an alternative, however. Cruise liners have a "gun" that can output high paralyzing sounds like this. It only affects those who it is pointed at. This is a lot safer than a "general purpose" device like the mosquito.

Brandon Rusnak
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.rusnakweb.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.rusnakweb.com</a>
Posted by BMR777 (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Umm no, sorry.
Umm, the device doesnt paralyze them, just annoys them with a constant annoying sound. So your scenario is invalid.
Posted by techguy83 (295 comments )
Link Flag
Did you even read the article?
What an IDIOT!
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
Yes
This would be a good idea FOR THE LOITERERS ONLY!!!

If this was ever used as an all purpose thing the store would be sued into bankrupcy.
Posted by WaJaJo (11 comments )
Link Flag
Let me reexplain:
Let me reexplain. I do not mean physically paralyze the person. Of course this will not do that. What I mean, however, is that it creates a distraction that is so great that it is like suddenly being paralyzed as the natural human reaction would be to do anything necessary to stop the pain. This includes possibly dropping all else, as in the case of my example, stop paying attention to the road.

Imagine driving down the road and suddenly your passenger stabs you in the knee with a knife. Now try driving. Wouldn't be too easy, would it? You have to keep your mind on driving while deeling with extreme pain from the knife. Same sort of situation.

Brandon Rusnak
Posted by BMR777 (61 comments )
Link Flag
A good idea! Private business has a right
to keep people off their grounds if they wish. Especially teens that are usually up to no good anyways.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Another biggot?
You know, teens aren't usually up to no good. Some of them are, the majority are not. I think you should pay attention to reality and not what you want to see.
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
Another...
adult who thinks because they are an adult they were never a teenager. So if all teenagers are up to no good, were you loitering, smoking, drinking? If you say no you're either lying or you proved the teenagers are ok side. If you say yes you can't be complaining about what you did too.
Posted by WaJaJo (11 comments )
Link Flag
Again Unacceptable
for 1 noises like that can lead to long term ear damage, buisnesses
with things that emit noise like that are required to give employees
ear protection.
and 2 if this is harmful then it is the teens right to sue the
institution which has put inplace the system of discrimination and
creul and unusual punishment.

you cant put us down because we are younger.
Posted by Blaine Lewis (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Than you better sue music companies and Apple
if your worried about long term hearing damage. Go after the real culprits.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Link Flag
Then I suggest...
You are stop acting like turds!

Robert
Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
Link Flag
Putting down the young
You're right; we can't put you down simply because you're younger.
We can, however, put you down because you have no concept of
proper capitalization, or proper punctuation, or grammar. Or
spelling.

Your point may be vaild, but your presentation strips it of any
credibility. Take a little pride in the way you present yourself. Thus
endeth the lesson from an old fart.
Posted by RedFiveStandingBy (2 comments )
Link Flag
Ah but we can...
Those offended by this device are those threatened by the same device. When you become a customer of the store and not a security risk, you'll view this device as a brilliant and simple solution.
Posted by binaryspiral75 (27 comments )
Link Flag
COOL
Very cool!
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Easy to build
Acutally... a device like the one mentioned in the article would be very easy to make. I used to produce such noises using a computer and a simple basic program. I would scan through all possible notes the PC speaker was capable of producing starting at 1 all the way up to some number like 65536 incrementing 1 note at a time. Eventually the pitch gets high enough that only a few people in the room can hear it. Any simple oscillator circuit would do the trick. Not sure if he could patent such a device. But it could be copied with $10 and a trip to radio shack.
Posted by KennyG944 (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Acceptable
This invention was created to solve a problem. The store owner did NOT create the problem.

I feel that if it keeps the doors clear for customers to come and go safely - it's fine with me. I also don't think this is discriminatory against teenagers - most teenagers are not hanging out in front of a gas station causing problems. Those that do - need to get a life, job, education... or a combination of the three.
Posted by binaryspiral75 (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
He could have.
How do you know he has no kids? He would have created them, thus creating a problem.

If he was a bad parent then that would drive them so theft, drugs, and alcohol.
Posted by WaJaJo (11 comments )
Link Flag
Don't tease of age when you don't know
If you had lived in the early 60s, you would know that segregation was still a fact of life in many American towns. Just because you read it on the internet somewhere thats its techniclly Illegal, does not mean it wasn't there. As someone born in the middle of the major segregation times in the 40s, I assure you, coloreds were still very much left in the corner in the 60s.
Posted by petacos (40 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oh boy this sounds good
( I live in the UK)Maybe they still need to work out a few kinks in the system, to find a way of ensuring only under 25's can hear it. I live in an area where we had alot of trouble with large groups of teens being young, drunk, all intimidaty (unfortunately most of them knew me from school so I recieved some abuse walking past, nothing my quick wit couldn't sort out) so it was decided to put up speakers playing classical FM. And ya know what happened? the speakers got nicked! (stolen) so then they cemented in the speakers and made a sort of law thing. In which no teenagers could be in a group larger than 2, if they were and deamed to be intimidating then the police could take them home (free ride?). This pretty much sorted out the problem. But the other problems of trying to get teenagers away from the shop could run deeper than just them wanting to be rude, they might have issues at home etc.(or just nothing to do, have you ever seen a British estate?!)I think it has to be made sure that people don't just spring for these the second they get a problem, they should at least ask the kids too leave first, or call the police and what have you, because it could be solved alot easier if you just tried sometimes. (Ok so most teenagers are ****holes but others are great, intelligent insightful, not ignorant people who would like some more respect, I think teenagers are extremely widely discriminated against but I don't see any laws being passed or marches in the street so i guess I'll just have to wait 'till I'm 30 (or 40 if 30's too young to be a mature adult)to get any respect.
Posted by NinjaSimon (4 comments )
Link Flag
What's to tease....???
... like this response is even close to relevant???? What am I
missing????
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
uhhhh....
one word. stupid
Posted by triexel (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What happens when every store has one?
If every store has one of these outside their front doors then teenagers won't be able to get NEAR the shopping centre without suffering.

Also there's been a few points I feel need addressing in this discussion:

1. It's NOT illegal to loiter outside a shop for a few minutes in the UK. There should be NO measures preventing people from doing this implemented.

2. The people it affects are NOT on the shop keepers land. It is not his jurisdiction and he has no power to prevent people standing there (see point one).
Posted by Mutex (40 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How is this...
...discrimination? The device in the article was meant to drive away the trouble makers (stupid teenagers gangs that hang around public places claiming it as their territory). So not all teenagers are trouble makers and some do shop without stealing anything. It's unfortunate that this device will affect them (good behaviour teens) too but to say it's discriminating teenagers in general is wrong. Besides, not everyone over 20 is immune to high frequency devices like this.
Posted by (56 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Someone please...
...remove this comment.. It was suppose to be a reply to another comment not the story :-/
Posted by (56 comments )
Link Flag
Uh...
Are you kidding me? What if I created a device that only black people could hear, and I used it to stop black people from hanging around or coming into my store? Sure, not all black people are criminals (the vast majority of them aren't, just like the vast majority of teenagers aren't) and yet, the "good behavior black people" would be affected as an unfortunate but necessary casualty?

Is THIS not offensive? Is what you said ANY different?

If a few white people could hear it, but it was still predominantly there to scare away black people, would it mean it WASN'T racist??
Posted by CyclicTheory (1 comment )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.