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Mobile technology and quiet walks on campus February 22, 2009

Posted by Jill S. Schneiderman in contemplative practice.

 Image from the University of Chicago

Listen  to the NPR story “Distracted Pedestrians An Increasing Risk” 

My ears perked up when I listened to this story on Weekend Edition this morning.  Studies at Ohio State University reveal the sometimes fatal danger posed to pedestrians who walk while talking on a cell phone or listening to an MP3 player. A less catastrophic though still unfortunate consequence follows from this behavior. People do not greet or even acknowledge one another along campus walkways. In this way, members of a fragmented community become less connected to one another. What’s more, the multitasking involved causes the mind to be distracted, as evidenced by the study highlighted in the NPR story. Walking across campus after class students rush to turn on the electronic media or make a call instead of conversing with a classmate or strolling silently allowing class material to sink into the mind. Campuses need to cultivate contemplative spaces. Should we ban cell phones and electronic media from public walkways?