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Transcript: Earphones and Awareness
Welcome to the People Safety Podcast from Kidpower, teaching advocacy, boundary setting, and other personal safety skills for building happier lives and stronger relationships. I’m Erika Leonard with another Kidpower People Safety Tip.
Chances are, if you’re listening to this, you might be using earphones. Or ear buds. Or headphones – whatever you want to call them. If you are, and you happen to be operating something with wheels – like a bike, a scooter, car, skateboard, a stroller – please turn this off, remove the earphones, and notice all the things going on around you. Your safety and the safety of people around you are more important than anything I can say here!
The fact is, our ears give us information about things happening around us. Most of us might not notice the information we hear with our ears as much as the information we see with our eyes, but it’s just as important for your safety. Imagine standing on a street corner, waiting to cross the street when the light turns. And, you have your eyes closed. Would you do that? Probably not! But look around in the world today and there’s a good chance you’ll see more than one person listening to the sounds coming out of their earphones instead of the sounds of the world around them.
As good as your favorite music or podcast might be, are you really sure you want to miss all those other sounds, the ones that are really happening? And I’m not just talking about “the sounds of the birds” or “the crash of the waves on the shore,” as nice as those might be. What about the sound of a big, slobbery golden retriever barreling over for your bagel and cream cheese lunch while an owner calls out, ‘Watch out! My dog got off her leash!’ What about a bicyclist who confidently calls out, ‘Passing on your left!’ and is going to be shocked and probably unable to stop if you suddenly step into the path of the bike? What about the soft sounds of someone walking, someone sharing the sidewalk with you, someone you don’t even notice until you take a sudden turn and smack into him?
Even if you have earphones in but turn off the sound, those wires usually show. There’s a good chance that someone paying attention to you is going to think that you can’t notice the things going on around you. Most people in the world are good, so most of the time that’s not a problem. But, let’s just say there is someone looking to cause a problem today. Or, maybe someone who’s wondering what high value item you have attached to those wires? Do you really want to make a statement to that person, “Hey, look at these headphones and long, dangly wires! I can’t hear very much at all right now!” I just can’t imagine the attention you might get from accidentally communicating that message is the kind of attention you want.
You deserve to get happiness from the sounds of those earphones. Combining that happiness with safety by thinking first about where you are and what you might miss before you plug yourself in? Well, it seems to me that has the potential to make your good times a whole lot better.
Visit kidpower.org for more people safety tips, and remember, in everything you do, stay safe, act wisely, and of course, believe in yourself!