We all know you’re not supposed to text and drive. In fact, thanks to some serious research and a lot of public service announcements, more people than ever know that distracted driving is closing in on drunk driving for the biggest fatality count when it comes to automotive accidents. However, those among us who shake their heads with disapproval at distracted drivers will just laugh at the idea of distracted walking. After all, if you’re walking what’s the worst that could happen?
Well, if you’re not paying attention, being a “pedtextrian” can get you killed the same way being a distracted driver can.
The Dangers of Being A Pedtextrian
Texting and walking has become as normal as walking and chewing gum for a lot of people, particularly those who are part of the younger generation. After all, if you’re on a sidewalk and you feel the vibration against your hip, a cursory glance around should tell you whether or not it’s safe to pull out your phone to see what it’s notifying you of. What’s the worst that could happen? You might bump into a parking meter, or have an awkward moment with a lamp-post.
Or you could have a fatal accident, like this woman in New York City.
What happened was pretty straightforward. She was walking onto a train platform while texting on her phone. She didn’t look up, and misjudged where the edge of the train platform was. She fell onto the tracks, and the train couldn’t stop before it hit her.
It’s More Common Than You Think
Distracted walking is a lot more common than distracted driving, because so many of us assume we’re safe within our little bubble of personal space while we’re on the sidewalk. But there are dangers all around us, and if we’re so concerned with what’s on the screen in front of us, then we might not see the car that’s about to jump the pavement, or notice the bear that’s wandered onto the street half a block away.
You’re not safe just because you’re walking, and if your body is on auto-pilot then you could be heading into serious danger without any ability to get out of the way before it’s too late.
If You’re Going to Walk, Then Walk
Walking from point A to point B is a lot like driving; if you’re going to walk, then walk. At the very least, you should be able to keep an eye on anyone you’re sharing the pavement with, and to avoid things like open manhole covers or crossing against the light when there’s a big rig heading your way. On the other hand, you should have your head up and your eyes open in case there’s a shadowy figure lurking in a doorway, ready to pull a knife on you for that phone you’re holding. You should also make sure you don’t step in puddles you’d rather avoid… especially if there’s something in them that’s worse than water.
Which isn’t to say you should neglect your phone all day, and let your notifications pile up into the hundreds. What you should do, instead, is only check your phone once you’ve stopped moving. If you’re sitting on a bench, or you’re on the train, then you aren’t going to walk into a wall, or run into someone at a full clip. Even if you get a notification while you’re walking, feel free to answer it… just stop walking, and step out of the way, first.
Having regular conversations with your child or teen about the dangers of walking and looking down at their mobile devices is critical. Most importantly, it is up to parents to always set the example by keeping your mobile devices away when driving AND when walking! Some parents, may find that they need help keeping their children and teenagers balanced when using these devices. This is easy to accomplish when you use a good parental control software. One of my favorites is Netsanity. They have a suite of mobile parental control services like their Timeblocker scheduler, which can be used regularly to ensure that your teen is managing their time between screen, homework and other school or social activities. Another feature that you will love is Netsanity’s Appblocker. It gives parents the ability to restrict apps like SnapChat or Instagram whenever they feel it is necessary. They do offer a free trial for their monthly plans, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Netsanity was made by parents for parents. With easy to use software designed to give control and sanity back to parents, Netsanity enables a safer and healthier mobile experience for kids. See for yourself with a free trial!
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