Digital Bar: Newest Way Technology Helps Monitor Underage Drinking?


Smart home products are all the rage. We can monitor our home’s security by pulling up a video feed on an app, adjust the temperature from afar, and now, receive text alerts from our digital bar when we’re running low. Called the Gutenberg Project, by Pernod Ricard and The Breakthrough Innovation Group (BIG), this prototype’s goal is to “redefine cocktail culture” by reinventing the at home experience for adults (as shown in this video).

The newest smart home tool may also be the newest way technology helps monitor underage drinking. Sleek and attractive like any connected home product should be, Project Gutenberg also comes with a companion app that shows spirit levels. Users receive a text alert when they’re running low on a certain kind of liquor, and an automated delivery system sends refills directly to their mailbox. It also gives tech savvy parents a new way to monitor their liquor cabinet by showing spirit levels in real time.

Gone are the days of drawing lines on the bottles to monitor consumption when you’re not home — pull up the Project Gutenberg app and you can view what is being consumed. Parents of underage kids who warn against parties while they’re away, can watch in real time as their liquor library is depleted.

Helpful in monitoring our kids? Yes. But is this really how we want to talk to our kids about drinking?

Waiting for our kids to make missteps when we’re not home is not the best way to have conversations about underage drinking. At ages 10 and 7, my children aren’t so interested in drinking alcohol, but are curious about how it fits into our culture and our family. I’m sure they’d be very interested if we had a Project Gutenberg system in our home. They’d want to open the app to see the liquor levels, and would probably wonder how the technology works to know how much is left inside. Rather than keep it a secret, I’d want them to know how it works and why we need it — just like the online monitoring tools they know we use in our home to help keep them safe.

Being proactive, honest, and talking early about underage drinking is the philosophy that I support in our home. I encourage ongoing conversations about online and mobile safety; such as looking both ways when crossing the street, and why it’s important to wear a helmet when skiing or biking.

I realize that it’s not always easy to talk about hard topics with our kids, but since it’s important to have real conversations, here are 3 resources that can help before Project Gutenberg comes to a store near you:

Start with the Super Bowl ads. Regardless of which team your family is rooting for, chances are that the buzz at school after the game is more about favorite ads than details about the plays. The Washington Post’s On Parenting column provides 5 great recommendations to parents: watching commercials together, talking about them, avoiding lecturing, letting kids ask questions, and answering their questions honestly.

Get educated on how to continue the conversation. The Century Council aims to empower parents to be confident about their decisions about alcohol, model healthy balanced behaviors, and create a foundation for starting conversations with their kids from an early age. Their Parent’s Corner: Underage Drinking provides key points for all parents that are realistic and honest. I appreciate that The Century Council provides age-appropriate resources — Ask, Listen, Learn, for middle schoolers;  I Know Everything, for high school students; and Parents, You’re Not Done Yet, aimed at parents of soon to be college students. As a parent blogger participating in their #TalkEarly initiative, I am also a big proponent of early conversations with our children.

Know how to discuss what they may be seeing on tv, in movies, and on social channels. When favorite celebrities make missteps and kids hear about it on the news or through their peers, it sends out all sorts of messages. Common Sense Media has helpful age-appropriate conversation starters for parents of elementary, middle and high schoolers about addressing alcohol in the media.

Image courtesy of Pernod Ricard

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Article Posted 3 years Ago

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