Much has been said about the dangers of cell phones and driving, but relatively little has been discussed about the dangers that these devices pose while their users are walking. Yet the occasional news report does indicate that walking while texting or talking actually has some drawbacks too. Many Americans saw a recent video of a woman in the mall who was texting as she strolled along; she walked straight into a fountain and toppled in. The video went viral, most likely more because it was hilarious than because people were taking it as a cautionary tale.
This was not the only troubling incident of ‘texting while walking’ accident. There was also a woman who fell not into a shallow fountain, but into Lake Michigan itself. Recently in China, a girl was so deeply engrossed in her cell phone usage that she vanished down a sinkhole created by water running beneath the surface of the street. Of course, that could have happened do anyone walking along; the troubling part of this tale is that according to reports, she vanished without even yelping or calling out. It was as though she were so wrapped up in her cell phone that she did not notice that she had vanished beneath the surface of the earth.
The old TV show Hill Street Blues used to have each morning meeting of police officers end with the admonition to “be careful out there.” Something similar could be said of cell phone usage. To text while walking is not illegal, but it does have its dangers. We would all do well to “be careful out there”.