Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Soberlink but all opinions expressed are entirely my own. I personally think it’s a phenomenal idea and would love to have the chance to try it out.
With all this talk of wine lately, I thought I should remind you that I’m well over the age of 21. Occasionally I still get carded but when the cashier asks me, we both know they are simply being polite. However, I used to be younger than 21.
I’m sure I’m not alone in admitting that I had my first drink before the age of 21. I’m a year-end baby and my birthday falls late in November. That means I went to college when I was 17. I graduated college when I was 21. Drinking and college are almost synonymous and for me, it was no exception. Yes, it was illegal but honestly, we were a bunch of dorks sitting around in a dorm room drinking Busch beer. No harm done.
I was never really a teen drinker, though. Alcohol was treated as evil poison in my house growing up and watching the films in drivers ed. on “drinking and dying” pretty much scared me into sobriety. For the most part, though, I never really had an opportunity to drink and so it never really became a topic of discussion in my household.
My first drink came in my senior year of high school. I was “spending the night” at a friend’s house and we ended up drinking a few beers. I wasn’t a social butterfly. I had nowhere to go. I felt strange and I certainly wasn’t about to get in a car.
My teen years were extremely tame compared to others and certainly to a lot of teens today. My husband grew up in a completely different environment. His mother, a tough Irish broad, had a no tolerance policy for drinking and driving. She knew that her kids were probably going to drink (they were 17 and the drinking age was 18, back then). But there was an understanding that she would drive in the middle of the night to pick her kids up if they had too much to drink with no questions asked. In return, my husband was a good kid. Sure, he drank but always responsibly. If his designated driver situation backfired, he wouldn’t hesitate to call his mom. And when his mom didn’t trust him, she wouldn’t hesitate to make him blow into a breathalyzer.
My son is only 4. But I know the day will come when he’ll be faced with important decisions about drinking and more importantly, about driving. Will I trust him? I’d like to think so. Will trust be enough? Probably not. When I studied adolescent psychology, I learned that most teenagers think they are invincible. Seriously. They can’t foresee danger and fathom the consequences. Why ask them to do what they probably are fully capable of?
This is what I started thinking about when I was introduced to Soberlink. It’s a small device that works with most smart phones. Think of it as a foolproof breathalyzer for on-the-go. The person using it attaches it to their phone and it takes a photo as they are breathing into the device. It sends an immediate picture, blood alcohol level, and GPS coordinate, so it’s a pretty fool-proof way for parents to monitor their child’s drinking when they are out with friends.
It’s a strong-arm tactic, for sure. Probably years ago, I might have thought it was a bit of an invasion of privacy. Kids need to learn from their mistakes. They need to be accountable for their actions. But I’m a mom now. And over the past 10 years, I have heard way too many local stories of teens who were drinking, driving, usually speeding, and ended up dead. It’s a harsh reality and I don’t ever want to be the mother who trusted her child too much and ended up at a loss.
It’s a tough topic to think about and talk about. I’d love for you to check out the video and let me know what you think. If you are a parent of a teen, how are you dealing with topics like these today? If you have younger kids, how do you think you will feel as they get older? If you are an adult who drinks, would you see this as a valuable way for monitoring your own drinking when you’re out on the town?