Teenagers can be a problem—and not just to parents. Their boisterous presence in public areas often creates a disturbance and, if especially rowdy, thousands of dollars in vandalism damage.

One New Jersey company has come up with an unusual solution. The Mosquito—from Kids Be Gone—emits an ultrasonic signal audible only to youngsters. Prolonged exposure, while safe, hurts youthful ears, scaring them off before they can spray “Justin + Britney 4-Eva” on an underpass.

Cool, but does it work? The science-minded PUBLIC WORKS editorial team put the technology to the test by playing the sound for staffers. While older employees could hear the tone only if turned all the way up, the less-old fled from the sound at low volumes.

However, teens—ingenious little buggers—have turned the technology on its ear. Some high-schoolers have morphed the audio into a ringtone, so they can be alerted to text messages during class, unbeknownst to their teachers. Whippersnappers.