I work on a university campus, and every day, no matter where I walk, there is a good chance that someone will bump into me because they are walking and looking down at their phone.
And I’m not talking about the kind of person walking around with their head down, trying to ignore the world, hunched inside their jacket hoping the world ignores them. Those people tend to look up under their eyebrows once in a while to see who is coming at them.
I’m talking about full on head down, eyes down, typing away on their phone, totally oblivious to the rest of the world, walking across campus through throngs of people (more often than not, shuffling their feet at the same time)…the kind of person I want to yell “KEEP YOUR HEAD UP!” at every time I walk by/around/past them.
Is whatever is on your phone more important than personal safety, or the safety of others? Can you not put your phone in your pocket for 5 minutes while you walk from class to the student centre?
A new ad campaign has launched in Japan warning about the dangers of texting and walking. The video shows what would happen if 1,500 people tried to cross a busy intersection, while everyone is looking down at their phones. I think this type of education is needed around the world, as I also see near misses on street corners with people looking down at their phones and not paying attention to traffic as they cross the street.
But will the ad campaign really work? Wouldn’t it be cool if the ad could identify when you’re walking and looking down at your phone, and then pop up on your screen at that exact moment? Or even better, a light post pops up in the middle of the street (with padding on it) so you walk right into it, teaching you a valuable lesson? Maybe governments need to implement a “distracted walking” law and let police hand out tickets to offenders (and they are more likely to catch them than the distracted drivers).