The use of a high-pitched alarm to drive British teenagers away from public places is under dispute on the blogosphere after a campaign against the alarms was launched by the Children's Commissioner for England yesterday. The ‘mosquito' alarm which is so high-pitched that only young ears are able to pick it up has been installed by 3,500 shopkeepers and supermarkets in the UK since it was invented in 2005. Now, the ‘Buzz off' campaign says that the £500 product should be prohibited from use.

Are you young enough to be classed as a public nuisance?

Audible to those 18 and younger:

24 and younger:

60 and younger:

Youths have turned the use of the alarms around- by using the noise as a ring tone on their mobile phones. You can download the tones, depending on your age, in order to be able to acknowledge text messages and calls in the classroom or an exam.

"I like to consider myself slightly more dignified than a border collie"

Comment from Jade Bailey, 15-years-old:

First off, that stupid mosquito thing (...) that gives you a headache and makes you feel sick, but it's too high for anyone over 25. The first thing that sprang to mind was that it was very similar to the whistle used to keep sheep dogs in order. I don't know about you, but as a member of the human race I like to consider myself slightly more dignified than a border collie. Sure, it keeps gangs of chavs away, but they aren't the only ones in the country under twenty five. Surely when you reach the age to vote, get married and have children of your own... I dunno... become prime minister, you achieve a place in society which does not involve not being able to walk into a shop.

Anyway, wait till the MPs realise their kids are affected too."

"I really dislike these machines"

Blog posted by ‘Simon J’ 11 February 2008:

...There are larger issues to be dealt with. But I really dislike these machines. I think anything that criminalises and punishes in a generalised way (such as age, gender, race or sexuality) is wrong."

"A lot of people have forgotten what i'ts like to be spotty youth"

Blog posted by ‘Jim’ 12 February 2008:

I think they [mosquito alarms] are a good idea, but ...I remember hanging out around the chippy or the local shops as a teenager, with nowhere else to go. If kids are doing something wrong then they should be moved on, but I think a lot of people have forgotten what it's like to be spotty youth, just hanging out and having a laugh."

The alarm, protected by a cage

Posted on flickr by 'wibbler', 27 July 2007