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You’re walking around and a thought occurs: “I should check my phone.” The phone comes out of your pocket. You type a message. Then your eyes remain glued to the screen, even when you walk across the street.
当你正在走路的时候,一个念头跳出来:“我应该看一下手机。”你从口袋里把它拿出来。输入一条短信。然后,你一直在看手机,甚至在过马路的时候也不放下。
We all do this kind of distracted walking, or “twalking.” (Yes, this term is really a thing.)
我们都会做这种走路不专心的事情,英文里因此出现了一个词“twalking(由英文“发短信”和“走路”两个词结合而成。——译注)。(是的,真的有这么个说法。)
The behavior has spawned debates among lawmakers about whether walking and texting should be illegal. Some cities, such as Honolulu and Rexburg, Idaho, have gone beyond talk and banned distracted walking altogether.
这种行为在立法者当中引发了争论:边走路边发短信,究竟是否属于违法行为。在有些城市,比如火奴鲁鲁和爱达荷州的雷克斯堡,对这种行为已有定论,全面禁止走路时一心二用
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But we shouldn’t let that reassure us. Last year, pedestrian deaths in the United States were at their highest point since 1990, with distracted drivers and bigger vehicles the chief culprits. So being fixated on a screen while walking can’t be safe.
但我们不能因此而掉以轻心。去年,美国行人死于交通事故的人数达到1990年以来的最高,司机走神和汽车体积增大是主要的罪魁祸首。所以,走路看手机是很危险的事情。
“We know research-wise it’s not a good idea, and common-sense-wise it can’t be a good idea,” said Ken Kolosh, a manager of statistics at the National Safety Council, a nonprofit that focuses on eliminating preventable deaths. “We don’t ever want to blame the victim, but there’s personal responsibility all of us have.”
“我们知道,根据研究,这不是一个好习惯;从常理角度来说,这也不是一个好习惯。”国家安全委员会(National Safety Council)的统计经理肯·科洛什(Ken Kolosh)说,这是一个致力消除可预防死亡的非盈利机构。“我们无意责怪受害者,但我们每个人都有责任。”
So why do we do it? I talked to neuroscientists and psychologists about our conduct. All agreed that texting while walking might be a form of addictive behavior.
那么,我们为什么要这样做呢?我为此咨询了神经学家和心理学家。所有人都认为,边走路边发短信可能是一种嗜瘾行为。
But this column isn’t about pointing fingers. Rather, now is a good time to reflect on why we are so glued to our phones, what we know about the risks and how we can take control of our personal technology rather than let it control us.
但是,本文不是要指责谁。相反,现在是反思我们为何玩手机上瘾、了解相关风险、如何控制个人科技产品而不是被它所控制的好时机。
Why We Text and Walk
我们为什么要边走路边发短信
People are, by nature, information-seeking creatures. When we regularly check our phones, we are snacking on information from devices that offer an all-you-can-eat buffet of information.
人在本性上就是一种寻求信息的生物。定期查看手机的行为,就像是从那些提供信息自助餐的设备上获取信息,而且“管饱”。
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Our information-foraging tendencies evolved from the behavior of animals foraging for food for survival, said Dr. Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist and co-author of the book “The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World.” Studies have shown that our brains feel rewarded when we receive information, which drives us to seek more. That’s similar to how our appetites feel sated after we eat.
神经学家、《分心的大脑:高科技世界里的古代大脑》(The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World)的合著者亚当·加扎利(Adam Gazzaley)博士说,人类搜集信息的倾向是从动物为了生存而觅食的行为演变而来。研究发现,当我们接受到信息的时候,大脑会感到获得了回报,这会驱使我们去寻找更多信息。这类似我们吃饱后的满足感。
In some ways, smartphones were designed to be irresistible to information-seeking creatures. Dr. Gazzaley drew this analogy: An animal will probably stay in a tree to gather all of its nuts before moving on to the next one. That’s because the animal is weighing the cost of getting to the next tree against the diminishing benefit of staying. With humans and smartphones, there is no cost to switching between email, text messages and apps like Facebook.
在某种程度上,智能手机被设计成对寻求信息的生物具有不可抗拒的吸引力。加扎利做了这样的类比:一只动物可能会停留在一棵树上收集所有的坚果,然后再转移到下一棵树。这是动物对到达下一棵树的成本与留在同一棵树收益递减关系进行权衡的结果。对于人类和智能手机而言,在电子邮件、短信和Facebook等应用程序之间切换是没有成本的。
“The next tree is right there: It’s a link to the next webpage, a shift to the next tab,” he said. “We transfer so easily that we don’t have to use up the nuts to move on to the next one.”
“下一棵树就在那里:下一个网页的链接,向下一个标签的切换,”他说,“转移对我们来说太容易,不必穷尽所有的坚果就能转移到下一个目标。”
So we get stuck in cycles. At what point is this considered addiction?
因此,我们陷入了无穷无尽的循环中。那什么时候算是上瘾了?
Not all constant phone use was considered addictive, said Steven Sussman, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California. External pressures, like a demanding job, could force people to frequently check their phones. But when people check their devices just to enhance their mood, this could be a sign of a developing problem.
南加州大学(University of Southern California)预防医学教授史蒂文·萨斯曼(Steven Sussman)说,并不是所有持续使用手机的人都是上瘾。外部压力,比如要求繁多的工作,可能会迫使人们经常查看手机。但当人们只是为了改善情绪而查看电子设备,这可能就是要出状况的迹象。
Another signal of addictive behavior is becoming preoccupied with smartphone use when you should be doing something else. An even clearer indicator is what happens when the phone is taken away.
上瘾行为的另一个信号是,当你应该干其他事时,却沉迷于使用智能手机。一个更清晰的指标是当手机被拿走时会发生什么。
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“Let’s say you go out to the mountains and you don’t get reception, so you can’t use a smartphone,” Dr. Sussman said. “Do you feel a sense of relief? Or do you feel, wow, I want to get out of these mountains — I want to use the smartphone. If you feel the latter, that’s toward the addictive direction.”
“比方说你去了山里,信号接收不了,所以你无法使用智能手机,”苏斯曼说。“你有一种解脱的感觉吗?或者你感到,呀,我想离开这些山——我想用智能手机。如果你的感觉是后者,那就是上瘾的趋势。”
Jim Steyer, the chief executive of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that evaluates tech products and media for families, said there needed to be a broad public awareness campaign over the dangers of walking and texting in parallel with distracted driving.
为家庭评估科技产品和媒体的非营利组织常理媒体(Common Sense Media)首席执行官吉姆·斯泰尔(Jim Steyer)表示,需要开展一场广泛的公众意识宣传活动,让人们意识到边走路边发短信和分心驾驶的危险。
“You have distracted pedestrians and distracted drivers, so it’s the double whammy,” he said. “Tech addiction hits in both ways.”
“我们有分心的行人和分心的司机,所以这是双重打击,”他说。“科技成瘾对两方面都有影响。”
The Debate Over the Danger
关于这一威胁的争论
Just how dangerous is distracted walking? The answer is: It’s still unclear.
走路分心到底有多危险?答案是:目前还不清楚。
Distracted walking is a relatively new area of research. There have been few studies to show the consequences of what the behavior can lead to. And some of the studies conflict with one another.
走路分心是个相对较新的研究领域。很少有研究表明这种行为可能导致的后果。一些研究还相互冲突。
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This year, New York City’s Transportation Department published one study, including data collected about pedestrian-related incidents in New York and nationwide, which found little concrete evidence to link distracted walking with pedestrian fatalities or injuries.
今年,纽约市交通局公布了一项研究,其中包括在纽约和全国范围内收集到的与行人有关的事故数据,结果发现几乎没有具体证据表明走路分心与行人的伤亡有关。
Yet the National Safety Council said the national data cited in the New York study did not include information on whether pedestrians were engaged in other tasks at the time of the incidents.
但国家安全委员会表示,纽约研究中引用的全国数据未包含行人在事故发生时是否在从事其他任务的信息。
The council instead published a study conducted by the University of Maryland in 2013. It found that between 2000 and 2011, there were hundreds of emergency room visits related to phone use while walking, and the primary cause of injury was a fall.
该委员会转而发表了马里兰大学(University of Maryland)在2013年开展的一项研究。研究发现,2000年至2011年间,有数百起急诊病例与行走时使用手机有关,而受伤的首要原因是跌倒。
While more research needs to be done on distracted walking, it’s indisputable that walking while texting is less safe than paying attention to your surroundings.
尽管关于走路分心仍需进行更多的研究,但无可辩驳的是,边走路边发短信的安全性不如关注周围的环境。
“When you’re busy doing secondary tasks like texting, you don’t judge gap distances in traffic as well, you walk slower, you make poor decisions, and you’re not aware of your surroundings,” said Mr. Kolosh of the National Safety Council.
“当你忙于发短信等次要任务,你不会很好地判断交通中的间隙距离,你会走得更慢,会做出糟糕的决定,而且你留意不到周围的环境,”国家安全委员会的科洛什说。
How to Take Control
如何加以控制
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Obviously, the answer to not getting into dangerous situations by walking and texting is not to walk and text at the same time.
很显然,避免陷入边走边发短信的危险境地的方法就是不要边走边发短信。
But that’s easier said than done, since people have trouble reining in their tech use. So several experts recommended exercises in self-control.
但这说来容易做起来难,因为人们很难控制自己对科技产品的使用。所以一些专家建议进行自我控制练习。
Melanie Greenberg, a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Stress-Proof Brain,” said people could practice being more mindful by asking themselves any of these questions:
临床心理学家、《抗压大脑》(The Stress-Proof Brain)一书作者梅拉妮·格林伯格(Melanie Greenberg)说,人们可以通过问自己这些问题练习变得更专注:
Reducing access to the device can also be helpful, Dr. Gazzaley said. You could carry your phone in your bag instead of your pocket, making it more troublesome to pull out, for example.
加扎利说,减少对设备的使用也可能有帮助。比如,你可以把手机放在包里而不是口袋里,这样取出来更麻烦一些。
The National Safety Council said that when pedestrians have to check their phones, they should stop walking and stand in a safe place. It also advised people wearing earphones to listen at a low volume.
国家安全委员会表示,当行人必须查看手机时,他们应该停止步行,站在安全的地方。委员会还建议戴耳机的人把音量调低。
Chris Marcellino, a former Apple engineer who led the development of the original iPhone’s notifications, recommended going into the phone’s settings and switching off notifications for all apps except those that are most important to you, like work-related apps.
前苹果公司工程师克里斯·马塞利诺(Chris Marcellino)领导了最初的iPhone通知的开发,他建议进入手机的设置,关掉所有应用程序的通知,除了对你来说最重要的那些,比如与工作相关的应用程序。
“These are things that aren’t pertinent to your life that are bombarding you all the time,” he said.
“这是些与你的生活关系不大,却一直在轰炸你的事情,”他说。
Other tools, like the “do not disturb” function on both iPhones and Android phones, can be set to shush notifications temporarily.
其他工具,比如iPhone安卓手机上的勿扰模式,可以设置用来暂时让通知安静下来。
Even knowing all of this, I caught myself the other day checking Twitter while crossing a parking lot. I reflected on this and realized Twitter was a waste of time.
即使知道所有这些,有一天我发现自己在穿过停车场时在查看Twitter。我反思了一下,意识到Twitter是在浪费时间。
So I deleted the app. Then I installed another one to block the Twitter website from my phone — just for good measure.
于是我删了这款应用程序。然后我安装了另一个应用来屏蔽我手机上的Twitter网站——只为严加防范。