Theresa Gooding may not win “mother of the year” honors, but parents across America are quietly praising the 34-year-old Florida mom for her smartphone app that’s helping them regain control of their children’s behavior.
Developed in conjunction with the leading manufacturer of canine shock collars, the Annoyhilator smart phone app connects with a tiny microchip that can be painlessly injected into a child’s neck while he or she is sleeping. Then, when a child disobeys voice commands, the parent uses the Annoyhilator app to administer the appropriate level of attention-getting electrical shock.
Grocery store visit is seminal moment
The mother of three children, ages 3, 5 and 7, Gooding said she came up with the idea after mistakenly taking her brood to the grocery store.
“They were horrible. The little one was crying because I wouldn’t buy her High Fructose Corn Syrup Surprise,” said Gooding. “The 5 and 7-year-old kept asking for everything that had a cartoon character on it. When I said ‘no’ for about the eighth time, my 5-year-old threw a screaming tantrum, and the 7-year old snuck things in the cart while I dealt with that.”
Gooding considered leaving the children at the store, flying to Hawaii and assuming a new identity, but she knew the odds of a successful getaway were slim. Then she recalled a news story about brain implants and wondered if technology could help her create the children she wished she had.
Partnering with the behavioral experts at PoochPerfect, Gooding developed the Annoyhilator. Within a month she was testing a prototype on her children.
‘Now I’m a much better parent’
“I wasn’t the best parent before because my kids drove me crazy and I’d yell a lot,” Gooding admitted. “But now I’m a much better parent because they behave exactly as I want them to.”
As far as neuroscientists can tell, the Annoyhilator causes no long-term brain damage. Children say it doesn’t hurt, but usually they don’t recall the last 10 minutes of their lives before the shock. Uncontrolled urination is a rare side effect.
“It’s worth it,” said newly relaxed father Duncan Shmee. “My blood pressure is lower than it’s been since my kids were born. I used to restrain myself from banging my two boys’ heads together because they just wouldn’t listen when I told them to stop screaming in the house, fighting or jumping on the furniture. Now, when they start that crap, I simply open the Annoyhilator app and zap! They calm down and shut up.”
Gooding’s biggest problem these days is keeping up with demand for the Annoyhilator. Sales have increased 60 percent since the holiday shopping season began. “The closer it gets to Christmas, the more parents are going to want the Annoyhilator,” she said.