Do Electronic Devices Encourage Dumb Habits?

We've all heard stories of people doing stupid things while using their cell phone. Just how attached are we to our phones? Many people would argue we're too attached. After all, numerous people have seriously injured or nearly killed themselves by accidentally walking into traffic or simply tripping and falling down while distracted by their phone. In addition, most of us have probably been bumped by someone who wasn't paying attention to where they were walking because they were too busy texting, checking email, or talking.

Recently, David Bauder from the Associated Press decided to conduct an experiment to see just how many people he encountered during a 25-minute daily walk that were immersed and distracted by the use of an electronic device. During 15 mornings in New York, Bauder found as many as 67 people who were distracted by an electronic device. On a rainy day, Bauder still managed to find 28 people who were distracted. On average, he found about one in 10 pedestrians were distracted.

Bauder's experiment brings to light the ways in which our favorite handheld gadgets have changed our society. His experiment also points out what a pain cell phone users have become in large cities—Instead of having to weave in and out of crowds of tourists gawking at nearby attractions, pedestrians in New York have become their own worst headache.

Certainly smartphones and other handheld devices aren't the first modern inventions to engulf our attention. Over time, it's quite likely society will develop new rules as to what's acceptable and what's not. After all, when cell phones first came out, many people didn't think twice about answering a call while in a movie theater or riding a commuter train. Now, such actions are frowned upon.