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Most of us know that texting and driving is a really bad idea, but what about texting and walking? That combination is also highly hazardous according to a new study by Safe Kids Worldwide. The research report, “Teens and Distraction: An In-Depth Look at Teens’ Walking Behaviors,” looked at the texting and crossing the street habits of 34,000 middle and high school students and found that a shocking 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 8 middle school students cross the street regularly while completely distracted by their technology gadgets. This is a recipe for disaster as one mother, Gwen Ward knows all too well. Last year Ward’s 15-year-old daughter, Christina, was looking down at her cell phone, while crossing the street on the way to school when she was hit and killed by an oncoming car. Accidents can happen, even if a child isn’t distracted by a text or email, but a youth’s chances of not getting into an accident while walking are far better if the youth is not distracted and able to concentrate on her surroundings.
If you’d like to help make a difference in this realm, join Ward and others in the Moment of Silence campaign which focuses on “Devices Down & Heads Up.” If you’re worried about your own child being distracted by technology, have a serious discussion about the issue with your child about phone use safety. The report notes that girls were 1.2 times more likely than boys to be walking while distracted but boys still have a higher pedestrian death rate – so it’s important to talk to your sons and daughters. You can also limit your child’s ability to text, talk and walk, by disabling cell texting and web use on your child’s phone. There’s nothing so important going on within a phone that it should cost a child his or her life.