We have all been distracted by our phones. As I sit here writing this blog I’m tempted to check facebook or my messages. However, teenagers are even worse at utilizing willpower, often checking social media in school, while working, and even while driving. So study up parents on the applications that are most distracting to your driving teens, and talk to them about ways to remember that a notification can wait.
One of the most controversial apps out there. If you do not know, Snapchat is an application that allows people to send pictures and short videos that can be viewed a maximum of two times. Originally conceived to make sending “sexts” more easily, it is now one of the most popular method of communication among teens and young adults. With filters for faces and background, plus photo editing options, it is a fun alternative to sending a text message. However, it is highly distracting, and until last year Snapchat even had a filter that would display the speed at which a person was traveling. Snapchat can be funny at catching candid moments, but it is good to remind your children that even though the picture displays for a maximum of 10 seconds, there is no reason they should be looking at pictures of friends instead of the road.
We wrote an interesting article on PokemonGo when it was first released about how utterly distracting it was. It is a game melding virtual reality with physical reality, creating an augmented reality. Essentially, you point your phone and pocket monsters show up where you point and the point of the game is to catch the Pokemon. Playing this while walking has caused people to walk into roads, but playing this while driving? Completely highjacks the user’s focus, while also luring them into a false sense of security as their eyes are technically on the road through their phone’s camera. There’s just a Snorlax laying where the car in front of them is cutting them off.
People are in constant communication these days, simple as that. It’s hard to tell your best friend that no, you can’t read about her break up because you’re driving to practice, or ignore your boss’s email on the way to work. As social beings and as beings under intense pressure to be the best, many of us find it difficult to ignore those messages. Remind your teens, and yourselves, that anything can wait. It’s not important if you’re dead.
Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Youtube, Tinder, Grindr, etc. Teens especially rely on social status and social media to maintain relationships and communications. From replying to tweets, liking their friend’s Instagram picture, to watching youtube videos, they can be consistently distracted while driving. It may seem obvious not to watch a video while driving, but remember, these young adults are also consuming Tide pods.
Assume nothing when it comes to your teens. Talk to them about these distractions and try to make them understand the gravity of the situation.
A graduate of George Washington University of National Law Center, Thomas J. Curcio is an author, speaker, and personal injury attorney. He has been named one of DC Best Lawyers Personal Injury Litigation and co-author of “Evidence for the Trial Lawyer." His experience includes the successful representation of injured passengers of the 2009 WMATA (DC Metro) Fort Trotten train crash.