Some communities will let private citizens upload pictures of traffic violations..what’s next?
Dear Ms. Smartphone: I read an article about people using smartphones to take pictures of traffic violations, and then forwarding these pictures to a city department that will issue tickets. Is everyone going to be reporting everyone else? Do you think this is a good use of our smartphones? Gregor, Marin City
Dear Gregor : In this case, the devil will be in the details. The NYT article reports that law enforcement officials in Washington, DC are considering this program because traffic fatalities and serious injuries have been on the rise since 2015. (Speculation here, but is this related to more distracted driving and cell phones?)
A reader wants to exclude her meditation app from the count of how much time she spends online…
Dear Ms. Smartphone: I plan to set a good example for my teens and show them how to monitor their screentime. I have begun with an app that reports my total time spent online each Sunday. My issue is that I do guided meditation through a phone app. It’s at least a half-hour daily and that is bulking up my screen time. Do I have to count the time spent with the meditation app? Marnie, Newton
Dear Marnie: First of all, accolades for tracking your screen time and for helping your children do the same thing. Readers will find links to these tracking apps on the DearSmartphone resource page. Apparently, there is no way to exclude an app and even Google navigation, say used during a car commute, gets counted. The good news is that the app records your usage in granular detail, so when you talk about it with your kids, you can show them the average time you spend by category: for example, social media, meditation, shopping, and navigation. And, you can watch their usage as well. Muse onward!
Dear Ms. Smartphone: I noticed that you often take questions about drivers using phones. How about the case when a passenger uses their phone in the car, but someone else is driving them? Is this a safety issue or is it OK to do? TT, San Francisco