posted by on Digital citizenship, Online Life, Online Privacy, Online reputation, Online resume, Online Safety

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What would a potential employer think reading this?

It’s a fact today, your online reputation will effect your future. From teens applying to colleges to filling out job applications; to adults interviewing for career changes or leasing an apartment or even dating online — someone at sometime will put your name through the Google rinse cycle.

What does your social personality say about you?

Are you someone that overshares your life? Are you a humble-bragger? Like to comment on everyone’s post? Are you a one-upper or maybe a Debbie-downer? Are you obsessed with selfies? Maybe your #hashtag happy (hyper).

More and more we are learning that universities are talking to their students about their virtual landscape before they head out to their career future. They are recognizing that it’s not only their diploma that matters – your online reputation can literally cost you a position or possibly get you a job.

Nancy Rothbard, Wharton management professor recently was quoted:

“The idea of curating your digital footprint is right on target because it gets to the heart of the matter, which is that this is a new aspect of our reputation that we have to work at. We can’t just assume that it’s good, and we can’t assume that we’re vigilant enough. We have to think about that carefully.”

Let’s look at the positive.

We often look at what people are posting to eliminate them from being hired, but what could you post to actually get you employed?

According to a Career Builders Survey,  about one-third (32%) of employers found information that caused them to hire a candidate, including:

  • Candidate’s background information supported job qualifications –42%
  • Candidate’s personality came across as good fit with company culture – 38%
  • Candidate’s site conveyed a professional image – 38%
  • Candidate had great communication skills – 37%
  • Candidate was creative – 36%

Microsoft Safer Online has an educational site for kids and teens on digital safety as well as a great library of videos (Post Remorse and Post Regrets) to help remind us that our online reputation is a priority today.

Join them on Facebook and follow them in Twitter to stay up-to-date with today’s social trends.

posted by on Cell phone safety, Texting and driving

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it-can-wait_6Summer months bring a higher death rate for teen drivers.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the summer months of June, July, and August consistently have higher teenage crash deaths than any other month.

Distracted driving doesn’t discriminate — no one is immune to being hit by a person that is texting or reading an email. No one is so good at live-streaming that they should be driving at the same time.

No one wants to become a headline or a statistic this way. No one wants to make a call to a parent or family member to share the news of a lost loved one due to a digital addiction.

With Memorial weekend ahead of us and summer approaching we will have more cars on the road and youth driving among them. It’s imperative we learn skills to detach from our devices while operating our motor vehicles. Lives, and maybe our own, depend on it.

We used to talk constantly about drinking and driving, and this shouldn’t stop, however just as serious is distracted driving.

What can be confusing is that it isn’t only texting and driving (which is commonly discussed), we are distracted by many bells, beeps and whistles on our phone. From alerts from Facebook, an email arriving to beep letting you know a video is ready — there are many sounds that arrive from your device that are distracting and can take your eyes off the road.

The #ItCanWait Pledge is to help you keep your eyes on the road — and off your phone.

Mitch Jackson, a dedicated advocate against distracted driving, as well as a renown attorney for over thirty years, has made it his mission bring a new awareness to those that believe they have the ability to drive while using their devices.

His his recent article titled (a must read), Why It’s Socially Responsible To “Out” Habitual Distracted Drivers, Jackson explains that distracted driving is similar to drunk driving (yet we aren’t recognizing it in the same light — yet).

An interesting point (and there are many) was that even if you are talking on blue-tooth, studies have proven you are not giving your full attention to the road.

Regardless of what the laws in each state are, studies from around the world have unequivocally determined that any use of mobile while driving is distracted driving. This includes the use of hands-free devices.

Being a drunk or distracted driver is a choice. It’s a decision to act recklessly which exposes innocent people other than yourself, to harm and death. – Mitch Jackson

The statistics for drunk driving and distracted driving are disturbing. Read his article to get the details, what’s most important is how we, as a nation, can turn this around.

Education is key to prevention.

Changing your habits may not be easy – but necessary. Let’s not fool ourselves, more studies are telling us that digital addiction is becoming a reality.  That means that not only teens are guilty of not being able to unplug in the car — parents and adults are staying connected too. This has to change.

Everyone has to understand they are a role model to someone. Whether it’s a child, niece, nephew, neighbor or even someone in your office that looks up to you — you must always lead by example. The last thing you would want to hear is that a person said they did something because you always were doing it and you were their mentor.

AAA Study: Distracted Driving May be Involved in More Teen Crashes Than Previously Thought – 58% Caused by Driver Distraction

AAA Study: Distracted Driving May be Involved in More Teen Crashes Than Previously Thought – 58% Caused by Driver Distraction

Talk to your teens often about distracted driving. This isn’t a conversation that is once or twice. It’s one that you have frequently, don’t wait for a news headline.

Sock it in a pocket-case. Consider buying a cell phone pocket-case (maybe just a freebie you received at a trade show) that can go into your glove box.  Maybe it’s a pretty make-up case (you know all those free ones you get at the counters when you purchase  your make-up?) Girls would love it! Tell them it stays in the car – and their phone is turned off and goes in the case while they are driving. Having the case deflects them from wanting to even glance at it. Seriously — digital addiction is becoming a concern among youth.

Don’t hesitate in watching YouTube videos about distracted driving together. The more you know, the more they will understand the risks that are involved. AT&T #ItCanWait and have libraries of videos to share.  Encourage them to send them to their friends and post them on their social media platforms. Let’s have a summer safety platform.

One of the most comprehensive sites on distracted driving is

Thousands of people have been killed by distracted drivers; hundreds of thousands more injured. Research shows that talking on a cell phone quadruples your risk of an accident (about the same as drunk driving). That risk doubles again, if you are texting. You can help stop distracted driving. –


Courtesy of

Visit it, read it, share it. Be an educated parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent – community resident.

We will start having safer roadways.

Also read:

Summer Months Brings Higher Death Rate for Teen Drivers

posted by on Parenting, Parenting Blogs

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ThePresentThere’s no surprise that kids are glued to their screens, especially when it comes to video games.

As you start this short four-minute plus film, you may believe this is another young boy completely engaged in this video warfare.

Then enters mom…. and the story begins. It’s not what you expect and completely not what you will imagine. A must watch and definitely share this one forward with a friend.

Learn more about this amazing short film by visiting their Facebook page.

After watching the short film, you wonder, did this young boy find more friends in his virtual life than he had in his real life?

We have to think — was he left out of school functions or maybe teased because of his limitations? Was cyber-life easier for him?

What lessons can we as a society take from this? We are all different, but we shouldn’t have to be isolated because of our differences.

Technology is a great gift we have, especially for those with special needs. But we can’t allow it to limit people to a point that they are boxed in. Everyone needs a friend.

If you know someone that has created their life inside a device, go knock on their door — take them outside. Maybe out to lunch, a walk in the park – be that difference for them.

Be a friend. It matters.

posted by on AT&T, Distracted driving, Uncategorized

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ATTMothersDayThere’s no better gift to give your mother than the gift of safety!

Take the pledge! 

In honor of Mother’s Day, AT&T  helps you give back. But in a different way. Together, let’s give the gift of safe driving.

We see it on the roads each and every day. People glancing at their smartphones while behind the wheel. In fact, our research shows 7-in-10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving. And, nearly 4-in-10 social network while driving!

This year, we’re asking you to take the #Pledge4Mom at Pledge your love to your mom, grandma, sister, aunt or that special woman in your life. Pledge to always be a safe driver and to keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone. Follow the steps below to go online, take the pledge and share! #Pledge4Mom

Happy Mother’s Day!

Don’t forget parents – lead by example!

posted by on Digital citizenship, Digital Parenting, Internet Safety, Online Safety

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DigitalDietTeensTeen digital media consumption has increased 300%  over the last 20 years. The American teen now spends up to 9 hrs a day consuming media across a range of channels – SMS, social media, radio and more. To put it in perspective, your child now spends more time glued to a screen than they do sleeping!

Mobile phones are the main driving force behind the explosive growth. In fact, the typical American teen spends around 6.3 hrs a day on their smartphone. With on-demand access to so many different communication channels, digital media is fast changing the way our children learn and communicate.

One of the biggest concerns facing parents and educators is the “digital creep” occurring in the classroom. With mobile devices “almost always” within arms length, teens are plugged in and constantly multitasking.

Texting while studying.

Checking social media in the classroom.

Watching TV while doing homework.

Teens are distracted, and attention spans are shrinking.

It’s understandable 1 in 3 parents are expressing concerns about online safety, sleep deprivation, reduced physical activity and sliding grades caused by the growing pre-occupation with online media.

What are you to do?

The team at Rawhide have put together the infographic below. It explores the growth in digital media consumption, it’s impact on communication and learning, top concerns for parents, while addressing some things parents can do to encourage a healthier digital diet for their teens.

The digital diet of American teens

posted by on AT&T, Bullying, Cyberbullying, cyberbullying prevention, Cybersafety, Digital citizenship, Digital Life, Internet Addiction, Online harassment, Online Safety, Social media

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Most Teens Spend at Least 3 Hours a Day Socializing Online
ATTPollAT&T and Tyler Clementi Foundation Survey 1,000 Area Teens and Parents: Find Pervasive Cyberbullying and Significant Awareness Gap Between Parents and Teens

As middle and high school students spend more time online than ever before, a survey of New York City-area teenagers and parents finds cyberbullying is a prevalent issue that touches a vast majority of area children. The poll of 1,000 parents and teens in New York City, Long Island, Westchester and northern New Jersey was conducted by AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation.

  • 48% of teens have experienced cyberbullying.
  • 8 in 10 know someone who has been the victim of cyberbullying. Unlike in-person bullying at school or outside the home, cyberbullying is happening right under parents’ noses.
  • A majority of teens (53%) spend at least 3 hours a day online, with most of this socializing (86%) taking place at home.

“This first-hand account of what teens are experiencing online is a powerful wake up call to the pervasiveness of cyberbullying and its potential damaging effects,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President of AT&T.  “The results show that awareness of cyberbullying is high, and more education is needed to help teens make better online choices. By better understanding the extent of the issue, AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation hope to help teens and parents more safely navigate a connected world.”

To help that navigation, AT&T created Digital You last year. It’s a comprehensive program offering tools, tips, apps, guidance and community education events for people of all ages and levels of online experience. It provides education about using the Internet for a positive and safe outcome.

“These stats speak to the staggering problem of cyberbullying,” said Jane Clementi, founder and board member of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. “It’s outrageous and simply unacceptable to allow this to continue.  Aggressive behaviors in the electronic world can cause great pain and destruction to one’s spirit.  We must instill in our youth the knowledge that technology is only as good as the people who use it.  It can be a wonderful and useful tool or a weapon of great harm and destruction, as in the case of many young people today, including my son Tyler.”

In addition to using the poll to raise awareness, AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation will work with the All American High School Film Festival to challenge student filmmakers with creating short films to address the impact of cyberbullying on teens’ lives.  Students from around the country will have the opportunity to shoot, edit and produce a final cut in New York City in time for Cyberbullying Awareness Month in October. The winning film(s) will be shared with middle and high schools throughout New York later this year.

ATT57This negative behavior persists even as a vast majority of parents (78%) say they have spoken with their children about online dangers and appropriate behaviors. In fact, the poll finds there is a significant gap between what parents think they know about their children’s experiences online and their actual experiences. 57% of parents say they believe their children would tell them if they’ve been bullied but, in fact, just 33% of teens say they have done so. 43% of teens say they would be “terrified” if their parents looked at their smart phones, while nearly half of parents (47%) admit they never scan their children’s devices.

The poll also found parents can do a better job of talking with their children about online dangers. 1 in 5 parents (21%) say they have spoken to their children about them only in passing and not as part of a sit down conversation.

1 in 3 teens say they prefer to socialize online rather than in-person, even though it may not always occur within a positive community. Of teens surveyed, 41% describe the comments their peers post online as mostly mean. Experiences can differ based on gender, race and where they live.

  • Teens are targeted for a variety of reasons on text and social media, most particularly for being socially awkward (52%), their clothing choices (43%) and their sexual orientation (31%).
  • Girls are more likely than boys to be subject to degrading or insulting comments, 58% to 51%.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 teens have peers who have been cyberbullied for their sexual orientation.
  • Of those teens who said they were cyberbullied for their sexual orientation, Hispanic teens were the most likely to be bullied (42%), followed by African American teens (35%) and white teens (26%).
  • African American teens are twice as likely to confront a bully (61%), compared to white teens (31%) and Hispanic teens (33%).
  • Hispanic parents are the least likely to talk to their children about appropriate online behavior (66%), compared to white parents (80%) and African American parents (89%).
  • Parents in the northern suburbs (87%) reported having more substantive conversations than City parents (74%).

To view the complete poll results, click here.


posted by on AT&T, Cell phone safety, Digital Distractions, Distracted driving

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ITCanWaitHispanicU.S. Hispanics More Likely to Use Smartphones While Driving; AT&T Says “Puede Esperar,” Launches Campaign

Recent research conducted as part of the AT&T It Can Wait campaign shows that 83% of Hispanics admit to using their smartphones behind the wheel. That compares with 71% of Americans as a whole.  Half of U.S. Hispanics admit they use their smartphones to social network while driving. More than a quarter (28%) snap selfies or take photos. And nearly 7 in 10 (68%) text.

Half of U.S. Hispanics admit they use their smartphones to social network while driving. More than a quarter (28%) snap selfies or take photos. And nearly 7 in 10 (68%) text.

In response, AT&T created a campaign in Spanish, Puede Esperar. It includes:

  • The AT&T DriveMode app**. It’s now available in Spanish and open to all carriers. And it’s free for iPhone and Android users. The app helps curb the urge to text and drive by silencing incoming text messages. It can automatically turn on when you reach 15 MPH and turn off after you stop.
  • A 360° video experience that simulates the potentially deadly consequences of glancing at your phone while driving. View it on your smartphone.
  • A coast-to-coast virtual reality tour visiting local high schools and community events in more than a dozen cities by year-end. A Samsung Gear VR headset, powered by Oculus, delivers a realistic simulation of the dangers of smartphone distracted driving through a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone.***

Spanish_ICW_Selfie_English_042216“Now more than ever we need to focus on those who put themselves at high risk behind the wheel,” said Sandra Howard, assistant vice president of advertising, AT&T. “We want them to know the dangers and take the pledge. Ultimately, we want them to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones.”

Since its launch in 2010, the It Can Wait campaign has:

  • Helped grow awareness of the dangers of smartphone distracted driving to more than 90% of audiences surveyed.
  • Inspired more than 8 million pledges to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones.
  • Worked with departments of transportation in Texas, Kentucky and other states on research that suggests a correlation between It Can Wait campaign activities and a reduction in crashes.
  • Collaborated with AT&T data scientists on research that shows how statewide anti-texting laws impact the rate of texting while driving.

About AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, mobile, high-speed Internet and voice services. We’re the world’s largest provider of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. We offer the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider.* And we help businesses worldwide serve their customers better with our mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.

Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at and YouTube at

© 2016 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

*Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; voice roaming; and world-capable smartphone and tablets in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. International service required. Coverage not available in all areas. Coverage may vary per country and be limited/restricted in some countries.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Digital citizenship, Internet Safety, Online Safety, Parenting tips, Social media

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TeenTechAddictionFacebook has officially welcomed babies into the social network, with the creation of its new Scrapbook feature that allows parents and their partners to tag their children in photos and share them in a centralized location. Internet security company AVG found out way back in 2010, 92 percent of American children already had a presence online by the age of 2. As parents hand their smartphones and tablets to babies and toddlers to calm their crying, and as more tech tools are introduced in educational settings, it’s no wonder kids are becoming addicted to technology in ever-increasing numbers. Pew Research Center reported in 2015, 92 percent of teens go online at least daily, and 24 percent go online almost constantly.

That’s disconcerting news to parents, as Pew Research Center also reported in 2015, 33 percent of parents have had concerns or questions about their child’s technology use in the past year. As technology rehabilitation centers pop up around the globe, there are ways parents can instill the value of unplugging so kids can better manage the temptation for constant connectivity.

Start Early

Psychology Today identifies attention, decision making, memory/learning and information overload as some of the most significant ways children, tweens and teens are affected by technology. These are areas parents can focus on if they want to combat negative effects of screen usage. Compared to reading, where kids have to focus and use their imaginations, television and the Internet foster distraction and negate the need for using the brain to conjure up images or commit things to memory because of instant access to information. Reading with your child, even if you’re both reading separate books, and rewarding them for pursuing intellectual hobbies like science helps them sharpen their attention and imagination skills, which are vital for creative thinking and will be useful when tasked with writing long-form essays or research papers.

Keyboards and smartphones have negated the need for “old-school” skills like telling time and writing in cursive, but these are still currently important in schools today where kids have to do math problems involving the passage of time using clock visuals and must hand-write assignments in class. Reading an analog clock and writing in cursive also give children more opportunities to sharpen their focus and can even provide benefits related to hand-eye coordination and the emotional benefits of learning a new task. A fun time telling worksheet can get kids motivated to practice at home, while parents and their kids can use creative writing prompts as a way to practice writing.

Encourage your kids to play physical board games with you rather than hunker down with a video game. Board games are another way to get imaginations flowing, especially ones where kids can make decisions to affect the outcome of the game.

Stick to Tech Limits

The Atlantic reported in 2015 that kids are far exceeding the two hour-per-day limit of screen time recommended by the Academy of Pediatrics. As access to information online aids children in research for homework, it’s up to parents to impose limits on how much “fun” screen time their children can partake in. Kids’ daily lives should include the recommended 60 minutes or more of physical activity per day by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and with non-tech activities like art, reading or learning a musical instrument.

Encourage play dates and social outings that are focused on physical activity and that don’t allow for the temptation to look at smartphones constantly. Have meaningful conversations with your kids whenever possible, and set a family dinner time where everyone gets together to talk about their days. Be a good model to kids by not being an addict to technology to yourself, and set strict guidelines about device usage and consequences that will happen if the rules are not obeyed. By being a partner in helping your child become more enthusiastic about the non-tech world, he’ll be more likely to independently make better decisions about tech usage in the future.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Digital citizenship, Digital Life, Internet Safety, Online Safety, Social media

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TeenonTabletIt’s no secret that keeping our children safe is a full time job. In the past we could simply baby proof our homes and hold our child’s hands when they crossed the street. Now, today’s children have the world at their fingertips with the countless devices and forms of technology we have come to rely on. While this invasion of social media and the Internet offers our families countless benefits, it can also expose our kids to a variety of unforeseen dangers.

Many parents find it can be difficult to make sense of the apps our children are using on a daily basis, because new trends and apps on the market are constantly changing at rapid paces. In an effort to keep our sons and daughters safely snapping selfies and sending messages, we have compiled the following guide for parents that highlight seven popular apps and possible problems areas teens commonly encounter using this app.

Dubsmash. This fun app allows users to develop short videos that feature themselves lip syncing to movie and song sound clips. The possibilities are endlessly entertaining, with celebrities even enjoying in the fun.

Things for parents to know:  A few questions have been raised about copyright laws and this app. If possible, children should be encouraged to use sounds that are public domain to avoid infringing someone’s intellectual property. Lawyers suggest only privately sharing videos with close friends and keep them off “public forums such as Facebook or Instagram”.

Whisper. This favored anonymous app allows our teens and fellow users to share secrets and confessions. Users place the words of their confession over funny or related images to post and people scroll through the post “hearting” the ones they enjoy.

Things for parents to know: This app is definitely entertaining, but behind these confessions lurks a dark side of cyberbullying and slandering. The anonymity of this social media application is perfect for spreading lies or posing as others.

Meet Me. This app, formerly known as MyYearbook, allows users to meet new people that are located nearby. It is meant to encourage new friendships with other users who share similar interests.

Things for parents to know: The FBI warns that there are 500,000 child predators online everyday seeking new victims. This app is the perfect vehicle for grooming and contacting new prey, because often the predators create fake profiles or share interests that kids enjoy to lure them into their traps. This is another anonymous app, but it relies on a question and answer format. Users simply pose a question and other users answer.

Things for parents to know: We need to know that this app has a checkered past associated with extreme cases of cyberbullying resulting in suicides and even has been used as a communication method for terrorists.

Burn Note. This disappearing app self destructs all messages after the receiver views the message. It was created to keep sensitive material and emails in the workplace from falling into the wrong hands. One feature people enjoy is the “spotlight” that highlights a certain section of the text as it is being read to prevent screenshots and prying eyes from reading the content.

Things for parents to know: All Burn Notes disappear leaving no evidence behind. This provides bullies a wonderful outlet for sending hateful messages, because there is no trail of the cruelty.

Tinder. This site is often associated with adult dating and hookups, but the site admits that 7 percent of its users are are between the ages of 13 and 17 years old. Users simply scroll through profile images to look for attractive people they want to meet.

Things for parents to know: Tinder has a dedicated section for teen dating, but many teens lie about their true age on social media apps exposing them to much older, wiser, and experienced people. It also allows children to quickly judge others on appearance alone.

Down. This app was formerly known as “Bang With Friends”. It allows people to sort through Facebook friends and ‘friends of friends’ to mark someone they are interested in getting “down” with for a one night stand. If two people like each other, a message is sent to both parties so they can contact one another.

Things for parents to know: Yes this app reduces the awkwardness of finding friends with benefits. However, it can promote unhealthy relationships and sexual encounters.


What sites and apps do your children frequently use?

Contributor: Hilary Smith

About Hilary Smith: Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics. @HilaryS33

posted by on Apps, AT&T, Cell Phone, Cell phone safety, Digital Distractions

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it-can-wait_6Surfing the Net. Checking email. Posting to social media accounts. These are just a few of the things drivers are doing while behind the wheel. According to research from AT&T, 7-in-10 people admit to engaging in smartphone activities while driving. In light of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, AT&T is sharing the following tips to help prevent smartphone distracted driving:

  • Take the pledge at to keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone.
  • Use a mobile app to curb your temptation to text behind the wheel. For example, DriveMode is a free app that silences incoming text message alerts and sends an auto-reply letting the sender know you’re behind the wheel.
  • If you have a teen driver, take advantage of parental controls like Smart Limits that allow you to determine when and how your teen will use their device. Or consider a device like Car Connection, which, in addition to letting you know where your vehicle is and how it’s being driven, allows you to limit the use of a mobile device while the vehicle is being driven.
  • Watch the short, but powerful Close to Home and Fletcher’s Drive videos that show how glancing at your smartphone for a split second can change lives forever. Both of the “It Can Wait” campaign videos can be found on You Tube.
  • Check out the “It Can Wait” Virtual Reality App at The simulation shows the real consequences of looking at your phone while driving.
  • Get involved with the “It Can Wait” movement and educate others in your community and workplace about the dangers of smartphone distracted driving. You could just save a life.

ATTAT&T started the “It Can Wait” campaign in 2010 to increase awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. But as smartphones have evolved, so have our interactions with them. As a result, AT&T expanded the “It Can Wait” movement in 2015 to address multiple smartphone driving distractions following research that showed people engage in the following smartphone activities behind the wheel:

  • Texting (61%)
  • Emailing (33%)
  • Surfing the net (28%)
  • Posting to Facebook (27%)
  • Snapping a selfie/photo (17%)
  • Tweeting (14%)
  • Using Instagram (14%)
  • Shooting a video (12%)
  • Using Snapchat (11%)
  • Video chatting (10%)

So the next time you reach for your smartphone behind the wheel, remember no text, email, post or glance is worth a life. It can wait.

Data analysis shows impact of anti-texting laws –