‘Merry’ Messages: Drunk Texting over the Christmas Period

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Man sending text message and sms with smartphone. Guy texting

In this insight, we look at ways to avoid the potential awkwardness of ‘tipsy texting’ over the Christmas period. 


Regrets… I’ve Had A Few


A 2015 study (Dunne, Katz), for example, showed that 89 percent of participants said they’d sent a drunk text, and 40 per cent said they’d felt guilty about it after the fact. The study highlighted how alcohol could be a significant factor in regrettable drinking-related social behaviours. 




Here are some of the technological measures that can be taken to prevent any smartphone shenanigans, such as sending jokes and posting or commenting on social media, which may be regretted later: 


– Limit who can be contacted in advance. This can be done by going to Settings > Screen Time > Communication Limits > During Downtime > Specific Contacts in an iPhone. Here you can schedule ‘downtime’ so only phone calls and apps that you choose to allow are available, you can only reach your specified contacts, communications in both directions are stopped, and most apps are rendered inaccessible during that time. This means that even if you want to share something on social media, you can’t. For Android phones, use the ‘Focus’ mode (via Settings > Digital Wellbeing & parental controls) to pick which apps you want to pause for a certain scheduled period. 


– Remove or block specific contacts. If there are certain contacts you want to avoid upsetting at all costs, consider removing their contact details from your phone (but storing them elsewhere to add back onto your contacts list after Christmas), or block their number and undo it later.
– Use apps. Apps like AppBlock, for example (iPhone and Android), let you select the apps and app categories you’d like to ban temporarily, so you’re unable to use them for ill-advised tipsy purposes, even if you want to. iPhone users may also want to consider installing “Drunk Mode Keyboard”, which allows you to at least open social networking apps but blocks your keyboard so you can’t comment or message anyone. A possible equivalent of the “Drunk Mode Keyboard” for Android users is Bacco (Drunk Mode for apps and texts. Available from the Google Play Store, it has a lock screen and allows you to choose the words you particularly don’t want to be able to use (the letters will show as asterisks).


Other Ideas


Other practical ways you can avoid potential problems caused by the combination of a smartphone, alcohol, and Christmas include: 


– Turn on airplane mode. 

– Give your phone to a trusted friend temporarily before, for example, going to a work party. Or ask a friend to keep an eye on you. 

– Temporarily change the settings on your phone to make it more difficult to access the text messaging app. 

– If you’re on a night out, make a clear plan of action and set a clear drink limit for yourself to avoid getting into any tipsy texting situations in the first place. 


What Does This Mean For Your Business?


Since the office party or work’s Christmas ‘do’ was invented, the potential for saying something that’s later regretted has been there. Smartphones, however, have made it so much easier for people to comment instantly to anybody on impulse. Sadly, sometimes, alcohol and over-confidence can play havoc with a person’s internal censoring system. Thankfully, the upside of technology in this situation is that various smartphone settings and apps can enable people to plan and make it much less likely to happen, thereby ensuring a more harmonious workplace after New Year.