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Texting While Walking—Not Worth the Risk

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WalkingTextApple wants to make it safer to walk while texting. I have a better idea.

The Silicon Valley Business Journal headline—“Apple files ‘transparent texting’ patent to make walking while texting safer”—would have been laughable, had it not been so appalling.

Can you believe it? Safer? What’s safer is not texting at all—unless you’re standing still.

What Was Apple Thinking?

The article reads:

Apple Inc. wants to help prevent wipeouts that sometimes occur as a result of texting while walking with new “transparent texting” technology that use its rear camera for a live video feed.

The technology, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, (March 27) would replace the white background of a current text message with a live video feed captured through the iPhone’s rear-facing camera, Apple Insider reported. So in the future, users who text while walking will be more aware of their surroundings, and may be able to sidestep that tree or light post before running face first into the object.

(Click here to read the rest of the article.)

Worth the Risk?

Apple missed the mark here. Rather than “making it safer,” why not discourage people from doing it at all?

Texting while walking is dangerous. You bump into people, poles, and buildings. Worse yet, you risk walking into traffic. New research shows more people get hurt texting while walking than when texting and driving (though the injuries are usually less severe).

While there’s little current data about the exact number of people injured while texting, more than 1,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms in 2008 for injuries sustained while using a cell phone to talk or text. That number has doubled each year since 2006, according to a study by Ohio State University.

Watch Where You’re Going

Casey Neistat, a New-York based filmmaker, hit the nail on the head in his video about the rules of “Texting While Walking.” It’s three minutes and eight seconds long. It’s also funny and brilliant.

Here’s a snippet:

Navigating the sidewalks of New York City can be as challenging as any rushing sport, like football or rugby.  But when your opponents are walking while text messaging, their field of view is impaired, and this can render a three-block walk to Starbucks somewhere between infuriating and life-threatening.

Texting

(Click here to watch “Texting While Walking. ”)

Bottom line: If you need to send a text, step off to the side. More importantly, pull your car over. Texting while driving gets people killed. (Read: “Is Your Job Worth Killing For?”)

 No text message is so important that it can’t wait for you to answer it safely.

Comment Here

How do you ensure that text messages don’t get you hurt?

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