In this Australian study, 250 popular smartphone applications (‘apps’) relating to alcohol were reviewed for their content, purpose, and framing. The researchers also conducted focus group discussions with young smartphone users about their experience with and perceptions of alcohol-related apps. Some findings include:
- Half the apps in the study were classified as entertainment apps that endorsed drinking.
- Only 1 in 10 (11%) were classified as health promotion apps.
- Apps which claimed to provide blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels had widely variant results.
- Young people were sceptical of the BAC apps’ accuracy and also expressed concern that they would encourage people to drink more.
The authors recommend that health promotion apps need to be innovative, desirable and fun in order to compete with the other apps on the market which encourage more unhealthy behaviours.
Look out for the Australian Drug Foundation’s app reviews that are frequently promoted through GrogWatch!