実践ビジネス英語 2017/7/28 #実践ビジネス英語
28 金 Lesson8 Heads Up! (6)
Lesson8 Heads Up! (1) 頭を上げて
Coming from a small town in Missouri, it never ceases to amaze me how pedestrians in New York don’t look up. They’re all transfixed by their smartphones.
Yes, it’s one of the worst symptoms of smartphone addiction. I just don’t get the point of tweeting and retweeting, checking emails and text messages and sharing cat videos while you’re walking along a crowded city street.
London is no exception to this ridiculous trend. Smartphone-walking is a truly global plague.
You know, when this trend began just a few years ago, people treated it like some sort of silly joke. People posted videos of smartphone addicts falling into fountains, bumping into walls or slipping on banana peels while texting. But this kind of distracted walking is no joke. It can be very dangerous.
There’s growing awareness of how hazardous it is for pedestrians to focus on their smartphones, unmindful of the world around them. It can be dangerous for other pedestrians, not to mention cyclists and motorists.
When I was in Tokyo last summer I heard a warning at a subway station. Translated it said, “Please don’t text and walk at the same time. You could drop your smartphone and lose it.”
Lesson8 Heads Up! (2)
I was quite amused by that great example of Japanese reserve. You could lose a lot more than just your smartphone.
Indeed you could. The Germans have come up with a term for these digital sleepwalkers: smombies-smartphone plus zombie. I hear that in Cologne and other cities, the authorities have put ground-level traffic lights in the pavement to get the attention of preoccupied pedestrians.
That’s incredible. But I wonder whether it actually works. Those people seem to be living in another world altogether.
Of course, we’ve known from the first days of cell phones that talking on the phone while you’re working can be a dangerous distraction. But texting is worse, because you can’t see what’s in front of you. A smartphone user’s field of vision is apparently only five percent of that of a normal pedestrian.
Here’s another frightening factoid for you: portable electronic gadgets are now blamed for 10 percent of pedestrian injuries. We all know how distracted driving can cause serious accidents. But mishaps involving smombies are much more common.
It’s become a serious public safety problem. The tech industry is under a lot of pressure to do something about it.
Lesson8 Heads Up! (3)
The thing is, people seem to think that if they can walk and chew gum at the same time, they can walk and text too.
Many people have an exaggerated sense of confidence in their ability to multitask. But the truth is that we overestimate our ability to be aware of what’s going on around us.
Agreed. People need to understand that using a mobile phone changes the way we walk. You either slow down or wander off course. Pedestrians should stay safe and alert.
You know, at the end of the day, it’s all about FOMO. (fear of missing out)
Yes, the fear of missing out. We all want to be in on the latest news, trends and gossip. And the rapid spread of social media has given us a new and highly addictive medium to satisfy that craving.
The irony is that social media has made many of us asocial. We’re locked into our individual echo chambers and don’t try to hear a variety of opinions.
It’s true. Mobile phones have made our lives richer in so many ways, but we’ve also lost a lot in the process. What have the companies that make mobile phones done about this problem of distracted walking?
Not much that I’m aware of. They could take a cue from the auto industry.
Lesson8 Heads Up! (4)
Many people’s lives were saved after carmakers were forced to install seat belts and airbags in their vehicles, and started to become more proactive about safety in general.
At the risk of pointing out the glaringly obvious, you should look both ways when you step off the curb into the street. Smombies should definitely give jaywalking a miss.
I have to admit that I’m in the habit of using my smartphone to listen to music through earphones when I’m walking. Never when I’m cycling, I should point out. And I keep the volume low so I can still hear ambient street noise. I guess you could say I walk defensively.
OK, time for full disclosure. I’ve known to be a smombie on occasion.
t’s all right, Lidia. We can still be friends.
I’m very relieved to hear that, Pat. One handy trick I’ve learned to make myself less of a walking accident waiting to happen is to use voice-activated apps on my smartphone. And if I feel an uncontrollable urge to text, I make a point of pulling out of the stream of pedestrian traffic and stopping.
Have any of you heard of “text neck?” It’s becoming quite a problem. The thing is, the average human head weighs just over 10 pounds.
Lesson8 Heads Up! (5)
But bending forward and down-like when you’re texting on your smartphone-puts more weight on the upper part of your spine.
An article I read said smartphone users spend an average of between two and four hours a day on their devices. That means they spend between 700 and 1,400 hours annually putting extra stress on their spines.
I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll make an effort to hold my head high from now on.
I hate to say it, but it seems to me that somombies aren’t just foolish-they’re rude and selfish. They subconsciously expect everyone to get out of their way while they walk down the street with their eyes fixed on their phones.
No kidding. I don’t know how many times a smombie has cut in front of me or almost walked right into me because he or she is utterly oblivious to people around them.
What do you do in situations like that?
Well, no matter how irksome I find their behavior, I just get out of their way. Discretion is the better part of valor, as the say.
That’s admirable, Shota. I sometimes clap my hands in front of them or bellow “Hello!” to get their attention. But it’s probably wiser just to give them a wide berth, like you do.
Our current vignette talks about smombies, the people glued to their smartphones as they’re walking around.
Yes, and like Grace, I too must confess to being a smombie at times. About four years ago, on this show, I said that I’d stopped looking at my smartphone while walking. Well, since then, I have fallen back into back habits, I have to admit it. I don’t text while I’m walking-again like Grace, If I need to text someone I move to the side of the street or wherever and stop. But sometimes I’m so engrossed in an e-book I’m reading, or a movie I’m watching, that my eyes are glued to the phone even as I’m going along a station platform or a city street. I am embarrassed to admit that I have nearly collided with people a few times.
I really must commit myself once again here and now to stop doing that. I don’t let my daughter do it. Sometimes she watches movies or plays games on my smartphone in her stroller, but when she gets out to walk along the street or go up some stairs, I always take the phone away. I tell her, “Don’t use the phone when you’re moving, honey, it’s dangerous”: Advice that I obviously need to give myself too.
Yes. Smombies not only put themselves and others at the risk of accidents, they may miss out an interesting things around them.
I read an article the other day in which the author got a colleague to dress like a character from a very famous science fiction movie during the morning commute time in San Francisco. Normally that would draw a lot of people’s attention, but when the journalist asked a number of smombies whether they’d seen the character, many of them hadn’t. This character is distinctive; it looks like a giant Yorkshire terrier. Our vision has to be pretty compromised if we don’t notice that.
The vignette mentions that portable electronic gadgets are blamed for 10 percent of pedestrian injuries.
I’m surprised it’s not more actually. And we should remember that cars on the road are not the only danger: a collision with a bicycle, moving along the side walk or tripping because we fall off a curb. Those can cause very serious injuries as well. I know a women who broke her ankle going off a curb.
What about the text neck the vignette mentions? Do you get that?
I do, especially bases of my neck in the back. You know, it often feels very tight on both sides. Nearly every day I find myself kneading that area. I went for acupuncture recently and felt much better afterward. But obviously it’s better to ease the strain on that area in the first place; Treat cause not symptoms. Especially since there is some scary information out there about what bad posture can do to us. I read that it can lower lung capacity by up to 30 percent and has been connected to the problems like depression and heart disease. And endlessly staring at our smartphones can’t be good for eyes either. Given how much time modern people also tend to spend looking at computer screens, we really should make a conscious effort to rest our eyes when we can.