What's that noise? A phone? No, I guess it's just a bug

Technology designed to repel teens from storefronts is now used by teens as cellphone rings that most adults can't hear. Another wrinkle in debate over cellphones in school.

Children by nature are rebellious, and the cell-phone industry has answered their call to evade those in charge. This time it's the disruptive cellphone ring that has been adapted to ring in a pitch that only the youthful can hear, reports the N.Y. Times.

"When I heard about it I didn't believe it at first," said Donna Lewis, a technology teacher at the Trinity School in Manhattan. "But one of the kids gave me a copy, and I sent it to a colleague. She played it for her first graders. All of them could hear it, and neither she nor I could."

The technology was initially developed by a Welsh company as a means of repelling British teens from storefronts. Most adults suffer from presbycusis, or aging ear, and are unable to hear the 17-kilohertz sounds produced by the Mosquito.

But the tables turned when Mosquito noise was reinvented as a ring tone

"Our high-frequency buzzer was copied. It is not exactly what we developed, but it's a pretty good imitation," said Simon Morris, marketing director for Compound Security, the company behind the Mosquito. "You've got to give the kids credit for ingenuity."

Like all things teen and Net, the phenomenon is moving quickly.

David Herzka, a Roslyn High School freshman, said he researched the British phenomenon a few weeks ago on the Web, and managed to upload a version of the high-pitched sound into his cellphone.

He transferred the ring tone to the cellphones of two of his friends at a birthday party on June 3. Two days later, he said, about five students at school were using it, and by Tuesday the number was a couple of dozen.

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