By Kennedy Werner
Let’s be honest, we text in our cars going 45 miles per hour, so it seems incredibly harmless to text while walking across a street, through the mall, or around school. Think again.
According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, 53% of adult mobile phone owners (32% smartphone owners and 14% non-smartphone owners) have been involved in a “distracted walking encounter”; that is, being immersed in the phone to the point where basic safety is without concern. These behaviors are most common in ages 18-24.
“Texting and walking is almost the same as walking with your eyes closed,” said OBGYN, Dr. Mark Werner, “In this instance, multi-tasking is a bad idea. If we do not concentrate while we are in motion, then we will get in accidents and hurt ourselves or someone else. This is common sense for our health.”
In 2010, more than 1,500 pedestrians were admitted to U.S. emergency rooms for phone related injuries. This number has likely soared since then. Besides the obvious of colliding with other pedestrians or entering intersections, injuries can include facial fractures or nosebleeds from walking into poles and foot/ankle wounds from missing a step.
Lawmakers in New York and Arkansas are working to get laws passed banning texting while walking. In Fort Lee, New Jersey, police issue $85 tickets to pedestrians participating in the practice. Cities in Delaware have placed about 100 large stickers with the words “LOOK UP” on sidewalks near crosswalks. Nevada lawmakers are currently looking into giving first time offenders a warning and third time offenders a $250 fine for the dangerous activity. The urge to stop people from staring down at their phones and be more aware of their surroundings is in full swing.
Looking at this from Central’s standpoint, students all over school have their heads down and brains absorbed by their phones during passing times.
“It is something that is seriously becoming an issue,” said junior Taif Abduljabar, “It isn’t rare that you have someone bumping into you in a stairwell or hallway because they are distracted by their phones. It is dangerous; they are lucky this isn’t 5th Avenue!”
Scientists involved in a new Australian study have proven that those who read their phone while walking moved more slowly, diverged more from a straight line, and tightened their body and posture. Clearly, texting while walking disrupts a person’s kinematics, or body motions. Not to mention, it also damages a person’s posture permanently.
Yet, who can blame us? In a society that lives and breathes multi-tasking, people have the ability to send an email while on their way to coffee with a friend while on the phone with their sister!
Living in a zombie society, Americans are the ones that fall asleep with their phones on their stomach and wake up the next morning in panic that it is not fully charged. Perhaps it is time to take a vacation from the phones and start taking better care of our wellbeing. After all, although texting your way into a fountain may go viral (You’ll find this on YouTube!), it is much more ideal to keep your phone and reputation water damage free.