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This Mall Has A Solution For People Glued To Their Smartphones: A Special Lane

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A Chinese shopping mall has implemented special lanes for the 'heads-down people,' meaning those who walk around looking down on their smartphones. Along the lanes, painted messages remind people to look up.  ( Mabel Amber | Pixabay )

As an increasing number of people walk around like zombies looking down at their smartphones, a mall in China came up with a special lane designed for the smartphone addicts.

People who walk around glued to their smartphones often become distracted and don't pay much attention to their surroundings. They can hurt themselves by walking into poles, booths, potholes, or even traffic. And they can also be very frustrating for other pedestrians who are stuck behind a slow-walking person who's too busy with their phone.

Special Lanes For The Heads-Down Tribe

China even has a special nickname for this type of people, calling them the "heads-down tribe." To address this growing issue, a giant shopping mall in the Xi'an City, northwest of Shaanxi province has inaugurated a pedestrian lane dedicated to the heads-down tribe.

This way, smartphone addicts can continue texting, checking their social media, watching videos, and whatever else they do while at the mall, without impeding the normal traffic of those who want to walk around the mall and actually see where they're going.

It's a win-win for everyone -- those glued to their phones have a special lane all of their own, while the rest can go about their mall trip without having to dodge distracted heads-down tribe members.

Necessary Measures

The shopping mall in the Bairui Plaza has special paths around it, painted in cheerful colors, designated for people who pay more attention to their device than to their surroundings.

"We are not actually advocating for pedestrians to look at their phones," says Cao Hanjia, a spokeswoman for the shopping mall, as cited by the New York Times. "But we can't regulate people's activities and tell them 'You're not allowed to look at your phone while walking.'"

Consequently, these special lanes should be useful for all people, and messages painted here and there will remind smartphone addicts to look up once in a while and see where they're going.

Smartphone Addiction

China is not the only one facing this issue, however. It's a global phenomenon, with people all over the world walking around mesmerized and distracted, looking down at their smartphones. It's an increasingly alarming issue as people keep texting and driving, walking into traffic because they were too busy with their phone, bumping into others on the street, or causing some other kind of accidents. Studies have shown that smartphone addiction even causes a brain imbalance.

Ideally, people should realize that being too preoccupied with their smartphones could have negative or even tragic outcomes, but in the meantime measures such as special lanes seem like a viable solution.

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