load_file(“/includes/top.html”);load_file(“/includes/navmenu.html”);HOMEMETRO SHANGHAIShanghai’s phone zombies scarier than the walking deadBy Kristianna Foye Source:Global Times Published: 2016/11/13 18:28:39load_file(“/includes/article_shareup.html”);Illustration: Chen Xia/GTEveryone in Shanghai – Chinese and foreign alike – has at least once shaken our heads disapprovingly at someone else walking while completely absorbed in their smartphones.In the West they are known as “phone zombies” for the way they trip over and collide into other pedestrians, while the Chinese vernacular for such unaware mobile phone users is the “heads-down tribe.”China currently has 700 million smartphone users, and a great majority of them have unwittingly joined this not-so-exclusive tribe. But while Shanghais many elite club memberships have their privileges, this is not the case here, where phone zombies have become a particularly bad phenomenon.Studies have shown that phone zombies ignore red lights four times more frequently than undistracted pedestrians, cross more slowly and are also much more likely to get struck by a passing vehicle. While some might say they deserve to get hit, however, the real problem is when their oblivion affects others.Recently in China, a womans 2-year-old child was crushed and killed by an SUV while the mother herself was meandering behind her, focused on her smartphone instead of her daughter.Unfortunately, this was not an isolated occurrence; earlier this year in Anhui Province, a toddler was killed after running into the street while his parent was preoccupied with a smartphone.How tragic that the offspring of this tribe are the ones suffering for their parents inattentiveness.Those of us who are parents know it is hard enough to keep children safe even when you are completely aware of what they are doing; the moment they sense you are distracted, a child will delightedly take off running.Here is where our obsessions with phones become a life and death issue, no laughing matter.Motorcycle and even bicycle riders are no less immune to the urge to check their phones. I have seen scooter drivers in Shanghai zipping down the street, steering with one hand and talking or texting with the other, regardless of whether they are carrying deliveries or ferrying children to and from school.Car owners cannot resist, either, and may even be worse, considering the 4,000 pounds of steel they are operating.In January, a pedestrian was killed in China when he was struck by a young driver zooming down the street while “organizing his apps.” He received a prison sentence and a fine.In another instance, a Beijing emergency doctor arrived at the scene of an accident in which a car had been crushed by a heavy truck. The cars driver was dead, a cellphone in his hand.China may have the worlds largest number of mobile phone users, but distracted driving is not only a Chinese issue. In the US, one in four car accidents in 2014 was due to talking or texting while driving.Formal guidelines have even been issued by the WHO for mobile phone use while driving, and the UN has outright banned drivers of its official vehicles from texting while driving.Distracted phone use costs all of us. The heads-down tribe pay, at a minimum, in that they do not notice the splendor of life around them, and in turn are excluded from engaging with their surrounding environment. This is, of course, ironic because phone use is ostensibly for connecting with people.But phone zombies are not a neutral force. At the very least they annoy; they are slow moving, bumping into passers-by in their somnolence or suddenly stopping at the top of an escalator causing a pileup of everyone behind them.The heads-down tribes obsession with Internet connectivity can sever an even more important connection: life itself. At the ultimate they are a pernicious force in society, and their actions endanger their own lives and the lives of others.All so that they can send a message or post a social media update a few minutes earlier instead of waiting until they are stopped and out of the way of others.Because of this obsessive yet careless smartphone use, people are getting killed. Thats not very smart.The opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Global Times.Posted in: TWOCENTS,METRO SHANGHAI/* * * CONFIGURATION VARIABLES: EDIT BEFORE PASTING INTO YOUR WEBPAGE * * */var disqus_shortname = globaltimes; // required: replace example with your forum shortnamevar disqus_identifier = 1017626;/* * * DONT EDIT BELOW THIS LINE * * */(function () {var dsq = document.createElement(script); dsq.type = text/javascript; dsq.async = true;dsq.src = https:// + disqus_shortname +;(document.getElementsByTagName(head)[0] || document.getElementsByTagName(body)[0]).appendChild(dsq);})();Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by comments powered by Disqusload_file(“/includes/channel_right.html”);load_file(“/includes/footer.html”);$(document).ready(function($){$(“#channel-list .row-content”).each(function(){  if($(this).children().length==1){$(this).children().css(width,100%);}

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