Drunk Mode: Helpful or Problematic?

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Many people say drunk texting is their number one regret after a night of partying.

You roll over after a night of partying, check your phone, and cringe. For many college students, this is a reality weekend after weekend. For some reason, drunk you think it’s a good idea to send your ex a desperate plea for a second chance or your crush a plea for a first chance. Maybe you accidentally texted something private to your parents or drunk dialed a professor. Most of us have been there.

People always talk about the obvious problems that come with binge drinking, like health issues, accidents, and violence, but one problem people often forget is drunk texting.   You might consider drinking and texting a “first world problem,” and if you talk to a college student, they’ll say drunk texting is one of the most hazardous parts of drinking, but aside from being a trivial problem, drinking and texting can actually be very detrimental. Drunk texting may compromise several relationships. Drunk texting an ex or a parent could result in physical and social consequences, but students just can’t seem to put the phone down. Relationships can be compromised and potentially the mental and physical health of a person. Statistically, drinking and texting is the number one reason for hangover regrets.

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Drunk Mode launched at WVU last week. The app seeks to prevent students from drunk texting.

Last week, Drunk Mode WVU was launched for iPhone and Android users. This app allows you to block certain contacts from your phone for several hours while you party, live it up, and get drunk. Once it was released there was a lot of buzz among students on how beneficial the app would be; other students weren’t convinced.

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This seems like a great idea right? You can get drunk, still have your phone, and not send any embarrassing texts or incriminating phone calls. Wrong.

There are a few things that should be considered before you decide using drunk mode, or at least before you decide who to block for several hours.

What if you block your parents’ phone numbers from your phone, get injured while alone, and someone finds you but can’t call your parents? What if you just get injured but blocked all of your contacts that would actually come and help you?

A sobering is the fact that more than 500,000 full-time college students are injured every year in alcohol-related accidents, and nearly 1,700 die in those accidents.

Similarly, if you block someone who would bail you out of jail, what are you going to do if you end up getting picked up by police? If you don’t have the number memorized, you could be out of luck.

IMG_5926Additionally, the app could promote binge drinking and drinking to get drunk by providing a solution to embbarassing yourself via mobile device. One in six adults binge drinks more than four times per month. While the app may try and suppress one bad habit, drinking and texting, it promotes the overall issue which is binge drinking. The app essentially says it’s okay to binge drink because the app will stop you from the bad decisions like drunk texting and eating while drunk that may follow.

Some reviewers of the app, have also said it’s not completely fool proof. While it may remove the contact of your choice from your phonebook for awhile, it does not remove them from your recent calls and texts. Which means you must also remove them from your recent contacts in addition to removing them from your contact for the time period.  Additionally, if you do try and contact these people you’ve “blocked” a pop up message comes up instead that you set ahead of time. So instead of contacting them, you just keep getting the pop up message.

What are the positives? The app does allow users to set reminders not to engage in certain drunk behaviors like overeating or driving during or after drinking. Every time you go to text someone you blocked before hand, a helpful message pops up preventing you from further action and reminding you of something. There’s no question the idea is genius, and will be taken advantage of by college students everywhere. When used wisely, the app could be helpful to the simple struggles of a heartbroken college student, but you have to be careful how you use the app.


7 thoughts on “Drunk Mode: Helpful or Problematic?

  1. Hi Whitney,
    This is a really interesting post, and honestly one with shocking statistics. WVU sent out an e-mail to our MIX accounts about this new app, and I was really shocked by that. I wouldn’t think a promotional e-mail about an app like this would have been sent to our school account. I agree with some of your points, in that this seems like a really dangerous idea. Maybe I’m just a grandma, but I would never want to not have access to certain people in my phone. Especially the older you get, you start to worry even more about the welfare of others, and if I was ever seriously hurt, the first person I would want to call would be my parents. My parents ALWAYS told me when I was growing up “we don’t care what state you’re in, ALWAYS call us. We might be disappointed in your choices, but we would be more disappointed and angry if something ever happened to you.” I’ve taken this advice to heart, and called my parents a few times when necessary, but I would rather be safe than sorry.

  2. Whitney,

    I have heard a lot about this new app, but have not downloaded it myself. You address several problems in the post that I have heard other students talking about. In my opinion, the issue with this app is not binge drinking — the reality is that students have been consuming too much alcohol for their own good for quite a while and my guess is that wasn’t going to stop anytime soon. The application is just bringing people a service that has been needed for quite some time.

    In regard to another issue you brought up, people need to be made aware of what to do in emergency situations. If you delete the application, does it automatically unblock numbers?

    • Good point Maddi! I’ve never personally used the app, I did download it to see the features, but I didn’t need to use it. As far as I can tell, there’s no actual suggestion to what people should do in an emergency situation or what happens if you delete the app. It would definitely be something worth educating people on incase they do find themselves in an emergency situation.

  3. There’s a lot of information here for a topic of this nature.

    I’m not sure how much the app could further encourage binge drinking, though, as I’m not sure the risk of drunk texting has ever deterred anyone from drinking.

  4. I didn’t think about it at the time, but I agree with what Eva said. It is shocking that we received an e-mail to our student account addresses endorsing this app – especially when stopping to consider the cons you have addressed in this post. As soon as I read the description of the app, I thought, “That actually sounds dangerous.” My mind immediately went where yours went, Whitney, which was how this app could hinder you from seeking help that you might need while engaging with alcohol. While many WVU programs, such as the DrinkWell initiatives that WellWVU promotes address drinking and binge drinking in a realistic way (encouraging drinking smart, setting limits, not mixing alcohols, staying with friends, etc. rather than suggesting students not drink at all), this app, like you said, seems to encourage dangerous behaviors. This is a great post that made me consider the choice of the university to launch it. Your links were great, and I enjoyed reading this!

  5. This was a great post Whitney, I had heard some stuff about this app but until reading this I wasn’t familiar with its purpose. After reading this I have to agree with your point about it removing one of the consequences of binge-drinking. If you are going to drink to the point where you can’t control who or what you say, you should have to deal with these consequences. Everyone has said something they wished they hadn’t while drinking, but that is something you accept may happen when you are extremely drunk and are part of a generation that can’t live without checking their phones. I again may just be a grumpy old man but I think this app takes away one of the negatives of over-consuming alcohol which people should have to deal with as a consequence of their choice.

  6. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, but you tell a great story about a new thing without just writing “here is a new thing.” The framing paragraphs firmly place WVU’s Drunk Mode into a larger context, so we can clearly understand the settings and value of this development. As always, your post is peppered with connections to a larger web of information for readers with more inquiring minds.

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