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GUEST COLUMN: The text stops here …     

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Nadine Wark

While on a recent road trip that took us through the state of New York, my husband and I were intrigued to see some interesting road signs along the way.

Of course, these signs are just ‘a sign of the times’ (no pun intended). The blue and white signs had messages such as Texting Ahead; Text Stop, 5 miles; It Can Wait, or You Can Make It, Text Stop 5 miles.

Of course, with today’s mobile devices it is a common occurrence for drivers to text or talk on their cell phones as they drive. The resulting accidents are on the increase not only in New York State but everywhere … and they are completely avoidable.

In the fall of 2013, New York decided to install close to 300 of these signs at parking areas and rest stops on freeways, hoping to catch motorists’ attention and send the message that no text message is so important it can’t wait. Fines range from $50 to $400.

The problem seems to be a type of addiction, having that cell phone in hand at all times, checking in, checking out, no matter where you are or who you are with. It certainly was an ‘ah ah’ moment to see a recent on-line posting/cartoon of a family sitting down to dinner, everyone with their heads down (and it wasn’t to say grace), wide-eyed with hands grasping their cell phones and fingers flying!

What happened to eye contact and conversation? What happened to sharing the day with one another? Not to mention the neck and back problems that will one day catch up to the young people. As a senior, I even have friends who regularly check their cell phones. If I didn’t know better, I would feel like my presence was not all that important!

Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran said he is planning to take a nine-month leave from social media in December. This is a guy who has more than 15 million followers on Twitter. He wants to get off his phone, social media and email so he can “live and drive to places, listen to music, have normal conversations with people and get back to normality.”

Recently while under the Blue Water Bridge walking my dog, I witnessed a situation that poignantly spoke of the lure of a cell phone. A young woman, with a young boy; he was skipping along the walkway happy to be there, but trying in vain to get the woman’s attention … for, you see, she was busily clicking away on her phone with barely time to look up.

Actions do speak louder than words.

Nadine Wark is a retired office administrator and freelance writer who resides in Sarnia

 

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