This is a piece of electronic software tomfoolery that operates on your mobile telecommunications device. So instead of a map and compass, you can have sat-nav (satellite navigation) and instead of carrying your portable television everywhere, you can click on an app and watch TV on your phone.
Some of these can be useful when searching for the most important of life’s essentials: where to find the nearest decent boozer and where to source a decent pizza, for example. Some claim to be educational and helpful; calorie counting, for instance, could prove helpful for the diet conscious.
And now we have the NHS Drinks Tracker. This promises to quickly calculate your drink units, keep track of your drinking, and then give you personalised feedback. So, in the interests of science, I decided to try it out. Now, it has come in for a little criticism, and although it can’t tell the difference between Duvel and an alcopop, I found it generally easy to use.
Having used it for the minimum recommended period of seven days, the results are in. My average daily alcohol unit intake was 21.9 which, my “personalised” feedback informed me, is 17.9 over the recommended daily limit. This can (my emphasis) contribute to over 60 medical conditions. And that was it.
I have to say I was disappointed by this “personalised feedback”. I know it was a quiet week, but surely this level of abuse warrants something more dramatic. Where are the flashing lights and klaxons? Indeed, I was half expecting/hoping for a visit from Don Shenker and the boys from bogus charity Alcohol Concern.
There’s also an interesting and sometimes unintentionally funny info section. I particularly liked the “Can Drinking affect my sexual behaviour?” portion: 40% of 16-24 year olds surveyed agreed they would be more likely to have casual sex (no point in drinking otherwise) and 10% claimed not to be able to recall whether they had sex the night before. Frankly, if you were that drunk, it’s very unlikely.
The sting in the tale, though, comes with the disclaimer at the end. “This app is for entertainment purposes only.” Now you tell me.