Study: Mobile devices put walking students at risk

Over a third of students in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou regularly use electronic devices while walking on streets, and the consequences could be fatal.

Over a third of students in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou regularly use electronic devices while walking on streets, and nearly half of them have or have nearly been hit by vehicles due to distraction, according to a survey released yesterday.

Distraction by devices could lead to serious injury or death, said Yu Yan, an official with Shanghai Center for Disease Control & Prevention.

“With the popularity of mobile devices among the young generation, it is essential to analyze the phenomena and carry out intervention and prevention measures,” said Yu.

Fedex Express and Safe Kids China, a nonprofit organization, conducted a survey among 17,424 middle and high schools students in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou on mobile distractions while walking.

The survey, under the guidance of the Shanghai disease prevention center and traffic police, was conducted from 2015 to 2017 through questionnaires, group inquiry and observation. It aims to alert families, schools and communities to the phenomenon and help teenagers adopt safe walking habits.

Results show that listening to music and messaging are the main uses of mobile phones among teens.

Over 85 percent of students in China’s three first-tier cities have their own electronic devices, such as mobile phones or tablets, and more than half of them would bring these devices to school, according to the survey.

Among them, some 35 percent of respondents admitted to always or often using mobile phones while walking.

Only 7.95 percent of Shanghai students said they often use electronic devices while walking, compared with over 13 percent in Beijing and Guangzhou repsectively.

“Nearly 30 percent of local middle school students and half of local high school students habitually wear earphones while walking on the street,” said Gu Jingni, a traffic police officer with Xuhui District.

“We must pay attention to this phenomenon because 180,000 children and teenagers are killed, while another 100,000 are injured by traffic accidents, every year,” said Gu.

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