Danger lurks in front of your cell phone screen

Feb. 23, 2015

Megan Lunsford
mlunsford@uccs.edu

Multitasking while using smartphones has become one of the dumbest and most dangerous activities for those between the ages of 16 and 25.

We have our favorite music, movies and websites at our fingertips, and contacting friends and family is as easy as pressing a few buttons on the screen.

But getting lost in a handheld device includes surprisingly common risks like walking into people, tripping down stairs and stepping into busy traffic.

According to a recent study by Healthline, texting and walking is known to cause more accidents than texting and driving.

Dr. Dietrich Jehle, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Buffalo in New York, believes that as many as 10 percent of the tens of thousands of pedestrian injuries found across the nation each year result from accidents involving cell phones.

Jehle goes on to explain that the number of injuries caused by texting and walking might be even higher than figures indicate, since many people are too embarrassed to admit that they were injured because they were texting and walking.

If you’re so embarrassed that you were texting and walking, why bother doing it in the first place?

Recent research has shown that we are simply not as good at multitasking as we think we are.

Humans just cannot do things simultaneously. Instead, we simply switch our attention from task to task very quickly. Often, it’s just not fast enough. It is impossible to give your full attention to more than one task at once.

So when you’re busy sending an “I love you” text to your “bae” in between classes, your attention is focused mostly on your screen instead of the speeding car you didn’t notice that swerved out of the way to miss you.

A separate study from Stony Brook University showed that people using cell phones while walking are 61 percent more likely to veer off their course.

I don’t care how good a “multitasker” you are, when you text and walk, you are putting yourself and everyone around you in serious danger.

Walking around campus, I see an alarming amount of students completely oblivious and unaware of their surroundings. What happened to walking down the sidewalk without a phone in your hand? Where did smiling and nodding at a stranger, taking the time to say “hi” to someone go?

This selfish generation is too busy updating their Facebook status or uploading a selfie onto Instagram to be bothered with such nuisances.

Maybe it won’t be tragic, and you won’t walk into traffic while you’re on your phone, but you might walk straight into someone without noticing, leaving both of you flushed and embarrassed.

Your life should go beyond a glass screen. Appreciate what is already in front of you, and always be 100 percent aware of what’s around you.

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