Teenage entrepreneur

Forget Young Apprentice. Ella Walton has designed an iphone app to help busy parents keep their children safe and she's still only 14 years old. Workingmums.co.uk spoke to her.

Ella Walton is just 14 years old. Not only is she aware of the issues busy working parents face, but she has she come up with an iphone app to help them.

Ella designed and developed the 'parent text' app after talking to her father about the kind of issues that parents with busy careers and lifestyles face communicating with their teenaged children and keeping them safe.

The app, which went live on 20 October and is available on the apple store, helps parents know what to text to their children/teenagers at crucial times, such as when they are on a night out. It has over 50 categories that are split into texts about safety and lifestyle and messages can be personalised.

Ella says it has categories for encouraging and inspiring children and lots of advice about what to do in difficult situations, such as walking home on your own, travelling on trains, buses or aeroplanes, saying no to drugs and mobile phone and internet safety.

Lifestyle issues it covers include dating, fitness, how to cope with stress and money management. There are also jokes and famous quotes.
When the application is downloaded the parent enters the child’s details and the app then filters the messages according to the child’s age and gender.


Ella says she spent a lot of time researching the advice and designing text messages accordingly so they are direct and easy to understand. Her father put her in contact with developers in India who helped developed the software for the app and sent her images to approve.

Ella, both of whose parents work, emphasises that the app does not replace verbal communication, but it does supplement it. “Kids are faced with very difficult situations these days,” says Ella. “A lot are safety issues which are quite tricky. Teenagers respond to text messages and often take advice from text messages if it is reinforcing something they have been told before.”

Ella is doing a business studies course at GCSE, but says this is her first serious project. Her friends “really like it”, she says. “They're very supportive.” She denies it may seem a bit Big Brotherish to send your child a text message while they are out giving them safety advice and says it is merely meant to back up advice parents will already have given their children verbally.

For more information about the app, visit www.parent-text.com.


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