The just-released TextArrest app is trying to stop kids from being distracted by their phones while driving.
We had a chance to look at this app and web portal at CTIA last night and it allows parents to disable their kid’s phone’s ability to make calls, text message, instant message and browse the web while driving. It utilizes the phone’s accelerometer and GPS to determine when the kid is going over 5 miles per hour and it automatically switches these things off. The parent can remotely override the controls if their kid is riding as a passenger, for example, and the web portal is easy for parents to check out.
You can also use geo-fencing to set up which features are accessible in certain geographical issues. TextArrest said one reason teens use their phones while driving is because they don’t want their friends to think they’re being ignored. To counter this, TextArrest will send a predetermined message to those trying to reach a driving teen. It seems like this product could strike a chord with many nervous parents although I’m sure the kids will hate it.
It will first be available for Android and BlackBerry only, but we’re told it will hit the other platforms soon. It costs $4.99 a month for up to five members. We’ll have a hands-on video up shortly, so stay tuned.