Boomers have slapped the term “phone-pressing generation” on millenials. Almost every telecom ad currently airing on TV shows scenes of people who text as they walk on sidewalks. Is this a good culture?
Lagos is the economic hub of Africa. With a population of over 20 million — most of them, youth — the city’s metropolis is always bustling. Cars honking, drivers in a hurry to beat traffic, a never-ending stream of people coming and going.
Most major cities of the world are plugged into technology, and Lagos is no different. There is a burning desire in this era to participate in issues in real-time. Newspaper stands have gone out of vogue.
It is thus not uncommon to see road users texting as they walk, replying tweets, scrolling down timelines, and listening to music on head phones.
Using automated video analysis to examine the behaviour of 800 pedestrians along Oshodi, a town in Lagos; one study showed that 38% of them were texting on their phones while crossing streets. Advanced as we may now be, this is dangerous.
What are the dangers of texting while walking, especially in a city like Lagos?
The issue of texting while walking is becoming a global concern. Since 2010, smartphone distraction has risen up the ranks as one of the common causes of roadside accidents.
A study in the Ohio State University revealed that over a 1000 people were admitted to emergency rooms on account of distracted walking accidents in 2010.
In China, there are special sidewalks for pedestrians who text as they walk.
The commonest form of transport in Lagos is trekking. A study showed that 87% of the population reported to walk considerable distances daily. With this constant stream of people, there is a great chance you would bump into another pedestrian if you keep your eyes trained on a phone.
In case you have never been to Lagos, know now that Lagosians are not happy people. The messy traffic situation their heightened stress level. They are quick to anger. God help you that you don’t bump into an urchin — or agbero, as they are called!
God also help you that you attempt to cross a Lagos Highway while texting on your phone. On a normal day, crossing a Lagos Highway is extreme sport even with full concentration.
Then there is also the issue of theft: the streets of Lagos are full of phone snatchers. You can have your phone snatched if you text while walking. Whatever message you were typing would have to continue on a new phone.
In all, the text-walking is not a healthy culture. In 2018, a local group won a grant to restructure the Lagos sidewalks and make wider room for pedestrians. Structures like that might help reduce the possibility of accidents. But it’s left to be seen.
In order to prevent stories that touch, do well to secure your phone in your pocket when in motion. Do not text as you walk through Lagos. Twitter and YouTube can wait until you get to the safety of your home