Disarm, Disengage and Disconnect…GET OFF YOUR PHONE

I have not had my own cell phone since we returned to the states, and honestly I am grateful. I have spent more and more time observing the people around me, the strangers I see and the families interacting (mainly as something to do). I have found that I truly get angry at people and their electronics.

I can only assume that as technology develops things will only get worse, unless we as individuals begin to put our priorities in order.

These are my 3 biggest pet peeves when it comes to cell phones and electronics.

1. Cell Phones while driving (texting, talking).

from Inquisitr.com
from Inquisitr.com

I used to be a huge culprit of this. When I was in sales and drove an average of 6 hours a day in my car, I would seriously set my cruise control on the highways, steer with my knees and type full emails on my phone. I would imagine that the majority of people out there don’t go that far, but do spend a good amount of time texting and driving, or having indepth conversations while they are supposed to be focused on the road. It really gets me when I see passengers, baby seats and kids in the car at the same time.

Here are some statistics I found from Distraction.gov:

    • In 2010, 3092 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
    • 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
    • 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that puts people in danger. (Pew)
    • Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.(Monash University)
    • Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (VTTI)
    • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. (VTTI)
    • Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. (VTTI)
    • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. (Carnegie Mellon)

I recently saw on the news a story about a man who was out on his morning walk when a 19 year old, who was texting, hit and killed the man. She got 45 days in jail. The man lost his life because she was texting. here is the link

We were driving down the road two weeks ago and saw a man on his motocycle with his son on the back. The speed limit was 55, he was driving about 30, while talking on his cell phone…safe? I think not!

I continually watch drivers on the road driving at irregular speeds and taking their eyes off their roads to look down in their laps while in the car next to me…It makes me so angry.

2. Cell Phones while walking (texting, talking, listening to music).

photo from http://www.dailydealmedia.com/
photo from http://www.dailydealmedia.com/

Last month we were driving through the campus of The University of Central Florida, going 20 miles an hour in front of the stadium. It was dusk, I was in the middle back seat and Adam’s friend was driving. All of the sudden a girl stepped in front of our car, at a crosswalk…but I am talking less than 4 feet away from where we were. Her head was down and she was texting, or reading, or updating…I have no idea. We honestly were a millisecond away from hitting her. She never even looked up, even as we slammed on the breaks (she didn’t even have ear phones in), my heart was racing and I was shaking that we almost killed this girl.

You would think that before crossing the street you would hear your parents whispering in your ears, “Look both ways before you cross the street.” Obviously not.

In November 2011, a coworker and friend was walking to work. She had on her ipod and her earphones in her ear. Knowing her, she was probably singing and enjoying the beautiful day. She was distracted and only looked one way at a huge light-rail intersection and was involved in an accident. Now, one year later, she is still recovering… having come a super long way. She beat odds and is a miracle.  Here is an article

You have probably all seen this video of the woman who fell into the mall water fountain while looking at her phone.

While this is a bit funny, there are reports of people who have fallen into subway tracks while checking their phones and a woman who fell off a pier into the water while texting and walking.

The point is this…what is so important that can’t wait? Checking in a restaurant so people know where you have eaten dinner and who you are with?? Liking a status?

3. Cell Phones/ Ipads etc. during family time.

photo by fulld
photo by fulld

Check out these statistics from statisticbrain.com

Statistics on Mobile Device Users Data
Percent who said their mobile phone is the first and last thing they look at each day 29 %
Percent who said they need to have the latest mobile technology 18 %
Percent who check their mobile device every 30 minutes or less 37 %
Percent who said they could only go a few hours without their mobile phone 34 %
Percent who said they prefer to communicate by text message 32 %
Percent who have asked someone on a date via text 20 %
Percent who say their mobile device make them better parents 65 %
Percent who would take their mobile device to work over their lunch 66 %
Percent Who Use Their Phone While Doing Another Task
Seeing a movie 8 %
Driving a car 32 %
Playing with my children 35 %
Attending a party 37 %
Eating at a restaurant 36 %
Watching TV 61 %
Riding public transportation 36 %
Where You Place Your Mobile Phone While Sleeping at Night
Next to my bed 68 %
In the bedroom 16 %
In a different room from where I sleep 13 %
Other / Various 2 %
In the car 1 %

(Granted only 5,000 people were surveyed…I would imagine the actual numbers are even larger). 

Just looking at this chart makes my blood boil. 35% of people are on their phones when playing with their kids! 68% keep their phones next to their bed and 29% say that it is their first and last thing they look at when they go to bed and wake up?! What ever happened to waking up with your spouse or “bonding” with each other. I am a firm believer that no technology should be in the bedroom…including TV’s. Bedrooms are meant for relaxation, sound sleep and to escape from the rest of your day.

I see so many people out to dinner, at the park with their family, sitting at home…and everyone is on their own device tuned in to everything other than what is in front of them…meaning the people they love.

Adam and I have spoken extensively about this and really believe that when we have our own place, we are going to go back to a landline and an answering machine with 2 prepaid cell phones for emergency use only (wasn’t this really why cell phones were invented in the first place?) People can leave messages, we can call them back.

Don’t get me wrong here, I totally understand the purpose of cell phones and technology. I love that I have been able to keep in touch with people from my past, I love that I met my husband via the wonderful Internet. I love that when we are somewhere beautiful and need a photo, we can take out the cell and snap a shot. But, I there is a time and place.

That time is not when you are driving, when you are spending time with your family nor when you should be paying attention to the world around you.

Ps. Update…1.21.2013… look what I found on 9gag.com



  1. I am a US ex-pat and recently visited home last year. I was horrified when we went to the theater and during intermission, my husband and I were literally the only people we within our own view that did not immediately pull out cell phones for the entirety of the break. It’s a sad culture of NEEDING to be entertained 24/7….and seeking that not from real relationships but from screens-computers, cell phones, ipads, TVs, etc. The rest of the world is following suit too. Yuck.


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