Online regret – Mobile apps to protect us from ourselves.


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Online regret – Mobile apps to protect us from ourselves.

Lately it seems as though you can’t turn on the television without hearing a fresh round of reports about the latest prominent public figure using digital technology they clearly don’t understand to do something irretrievably stupid that they then inevitably regret.  Representative Chris Lee resigned in February, for example, and Representative Anthony Weiner is probably going to, but you don’t have to be in the public eye to make the same sorts of mistakes.  Indeed, Mashable recently reported that 35% of Americans regret something they’ve done online. Today we’ll showcase some of the ways that the mobile app industry is working to protect its customers from themselves.

The first bit of good news is that Apple recently banned all mobile apps that would alert users to the locations of DUI checkpoints, but if you’ve been enjoying cocktails out on the town, apps like DrinkTracker can help you keep an eye on your own alcohol consumption.  (We would stress that the ideal number of drinks to have before you get behind the wheel of a car is still zero, of course.)

If you have had a few too many, Nikki Katz of Blogworld recently compiled a brief list of apps that prevent you from making those regrettable blunders that seem to go hand in hand with alcoholic excess.  Worried about drunk texting or social media posting? Apps like Don’t Dial, Bad Decision Blocker, and DrunkBlocker, for example, allow you to preemptively stop yourself from, say, telling your boss precisely what you think of him after that fourth round of tequila shots, whereas the “morning after” app Last Night Never Happened can be used to go through and delete the inebriated indiscretions posted on all your favorite social media sites.

Perhaps our favorite is the Social Media Sobriety Test, which requires you to undergo a brief series of tests of your motor skills before it allows you to post on Facebook or Twitter.  Unfortunately for now, this only works on Firefox and Chrome, but we hope that it’s only a matter of time before the developers at Webroot make it available as a mobile app for smartphones.

Of course, if your judgment is as poor as our chastened Congressmen, there’s probably little hope for you.  If, on the other hand, it is merely impaired, consider giving one of these apps a test drive, and you might just save yourself a world of regret.

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