Design and Violence


Compound Security Systems, 2005

Sonic exclusion of young people

The Mosquito emits an irritatingly high-pitched sound that is audible only to young people, as adults’ capacity to hear high frequencies deteriorates with age. It is used to deter loitering and ‘anti-social’ behaviour by teenagers. Its UK manufacturers promote the device on this basis: “Every day we receive calls from people wanting to buy a Mosquito Anti-loitering Device. People like you who are fed up with groups of kids damaging their property, hanging around in rowdy groups, smoking and drinking, playing music and generally preventing you from enjoying your home or business… The Mosquito device is the only product on the market that has the teeth to bite back at these kids”. Research has not conclusively shown the health effects of long-term exposure to such noises. In 2009, the Children’s Rights Alliance stated that they believe the use of such a device “constitutes an assault on children and young people”. There has yet to be a legal test of this in Ireland. The device also inspired a “Mosquito ringtone” that was so high-pitched that only young students could hear their phone’s alerts, unbeknownst to their teachers.

Image: Mosquito MK4 (Anti-Loitering device) by Compound Security Systems.