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Can an app stop you from drinking on a work night?

It's like having a parent in your pocket.
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A new app, likened to a "nagging cyberparent," has been designed to help drinkers moderate their boozing. The snappily-named Mobile Intervention for Drinking in Young People (MIDY) pushes notifications to your phone during your nights out. So, as you eye the delights nestled behind the bar, you'll be asked questions like "Do you have work tomorrow?" and "What time are you going home?"

Of course, party animals can choose to simply ignore their phones. But the app's creators, from Australia's Victoria University, say MIDY has been well-received. A pilot program saw an 89 percent response rate to the app's hourly-communication, and now the researchers are about to embark on a two-year project involving 300 students.

Lead researcher Dr Tim Corney said: "We've seen promising results with a growing number of health promotion programs that use a targeted approach to shift the expectations, beliefs, and social norms around alcohol culture. The research will focus on the effectiveness of targeted interventions for a group whose members have been widely associated with high-risk drinking and alcohol-related harm in recent years."

This isn't the first time we've seen smartphone apps take a stand against alcohol abuse -- the likes of AlcoChange and Drinkaware's online tracking tool have also been designed with moderation in mind. But this is the first offering to automatically deliver messages of reason. Pay attention to them and that quick beer after work might not turn into a 2AM bender you regret the next day.

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