Sunday, March 1, 2009

Do Students Still Use The "Silent" Ringtone?

Can you hear me now?

The Consumerist recently linked a website called the Teenager Audio Test, a website that's supposed to play the high pitched tone that usually only people under 25 can hear (note: many commenters report that the site doesn't play the real tone, so the results may be skewed). I've read previously about stores using this to keep young people from loitering, and sometimes wondered in previous years if having these devices in key areas of bottlenecked hallways might move students along and cut down on some of the tardiness that plagued the campus.

Leave it to our students to start turning this to their advantage almost immediately. Since us "old" people are not supposed to be able to hear it, students began downloading this sound as their ringtone back in 2006. While even those with youthful hearing might miss it against the normal din of a busy classroom, the real test comes during those many quiet moments.

I had these ringtones go off once and a while in my classes in the Rio Grande Valley, and I was happy to point out to my students that I was not nearly as old as they thought I was since I heard them loud and clear. Trends like that tend to reach the RGV by the time they've gone out of style everywhere else, though.

So I wonder, does anyone still have to deal with the "mosquito ringtone" anymore? Or have you encountered this tone in public or private spaces that are trying to drive away young people? Share your answers in the comments.