Don’t Use Smartphones While Walking, Warns Tokyo Staircase

Don’t Use Smartphones While Walking, Warns Tokyo Staircase

In Tokyo, mobile phone carrier NTT Docomo just unveiled a huge yellow warning plastered all over a Shinjuku Station staircase. It reads, “Walking while using a smartphone is dangerous.”

Under the warning, in parenthesis, it reads, “But those people probably didn’t see this announcement.” Oddly, this kind of reminds me of health warnings you see from tobacco companies.

There are also advertisements on the walls next to the staircase, hoping to turn walking with smartphones into socially unacceptable behaviour. Below, the text reads, “Even if you don’t notice this poster, we want you to notice everyone’s icy stares.”

The campaign comes after the country’s press has increasingly been reporting that walking while using cell phones is causing all sorts of hazards, such as people bumping into each other more and more. But that’s hardly the worst of it. According to Asahi, this lack of awareness can also be deadly, as in 2010, one person fell from a train platform while using a smartphone and tragically died. Earlier this spring, a 10 year-old boy fell off a platform while looking at his phone’s screen. Thankfully, he was rescued in time.

To prompt safety, there are now radio ads telling people in Japan that using smartphones while walking is dangerous. Columnist Takashi Odajima is even calling for a ban on using smartphones while walking, much like the ban on smoking while walking in certain parts of Japan.

This probably is not unique to Japan, nor is the concern over it. There have been other proposals outside of Japan for a similar ban on using smartphones while walking. One city in New Jersey, apparently, even banned texting while crossing the street. There are also public service announcements in the U.S. about texting when driving.

But if you think things are bad now, wait until headsets go mainstream — or when people start getting chipped!

安全な使い方を啓発する取り組みを展開 [My Navi]

Commuters warned of dangers of using smartphones while walking [Asahi]

Photo: Goo

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  • I know it’s kind of the norm now, but I’m always a little taken aback when I hear of kids having their own phone.

    • Terrible norm imo, and I’m not even that old to be an old guy bemoaning the younger generation. Why kids (especially pre-high school) need a phone is beyond most of us. Then again, if it wasn’t a phone, poor thing would have probably still fell due to a portable and then we’d have more of them articles we gamers just love…

      • In Japan the kids need it since almost all of them will be going to a cram school on their own, at least part of the way. So this way they can contact their parents in emergencies. Yes, even before high school.

  • Psh. People just lack a sense of spatial awareness. Back in my day I used to walk all around the place reading whatever book I was stuck into at the time… [/oldman]

  • Shinjuku gets pretty busy, I’d be surprised hear of people having their phones out there during peak hour. Besides, I don’t think NTT’s attempt to make walking with smartphones socially unacceptable behaviour will bear fruit.

  • Pretty sure like… 20 years ago, MAD magazine did a comic about people with Sony walkmans, walking into traffic.

    …Wow. MAD magazine. Haven’t thought about that in ages. I wonder how they’re doing.

  • I can see how this would bug the Japanese. When I visited a few years ago I was struck by the fact that, despite how busy it is, people really do manage to look where they are going and (mutually) not blunder into each other.
    Then I came back to Melbourne and walked though the CBD, which as much less crowded and busy yet people WILL stupidly walk right into you then look completely surprised.

    I would hate for technology to have a negative impact on the Japanese that would make them lose that simple quality of life improving characteristic.

  • I really wish they’d bring stuff like that here. I’m tired of having to be stuck behind people because they’re looking at their phones while walking and swerving all over the place like a drunk. Of course, one of my pet peeves is people who walk slowly and take up as much of a narrow space as they can so you can’t get past anyway. You young kids and your technomology. /oldManRant

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