If you go to major cities in Japan, like Shibuya and Harajuku, you will be surprised to see how many people are immersed in their cellphones while they are walking. Do they know how dangerous this is? According to the survey done by MMDLabo, 98.3% of people answered it is dangerous to use smartphones while they are walking. In the same survey, however, only 53.4% of people answered they didn’t use (or rarely used) smartphones while they are walking. Furthermore, 11.5 % of people answered they had gotten hurt because they were using their smartphones while they were walking.

(You can see the survey here, but it is in Japanese. )


So here is my question:


Do people in Japan REALLY know how dangerous it is to use smartphones while they are walking?


I don’t think so. It could kill them, and I am not speaking metaphorically. Look.



[Smartphone-distracted boy dies after being hit by train in Shizuoka]

<the first 2 paragraphs of the article>

A 14-year-old boy died last Thursday after being stuck between a platform and an oncoming train in Shizuoka Prefecture, police revealed yesterday.


The accident took place on the evening of July 19 at the Higashi-Shizuoka station on the Tokaido line. The station’s installed surveillance cameras showed the boy walking while looking at his smartphone and gradually getting closer to the edge of the platform where he lost his balance as an oncoming train entered the station, hitting him.

 (from Japan Today)



As an educator, I strongly believe I should warn students about this danger, but how? I know they have been hearing it, but obviously it isn’t sinking in. I even see many COLLEGE students using their smartphones while they are walking or riding a bicycle. I thought they were old enough and smart enough to understand the risk, but I guess I was wrong. How can we teach THEM not to use their cellphones while they are walking (or during class)? Perhaps it is more important than teaching English grammar or math equations because knowing past perfect tense and/or how to use sigma notation will not protect them from getting hit by a train.