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Wireless Addicts, Pay Attention to Your Kids and Dogs!

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You see it on sidewalks, in parks, and elsewhere. People using their smartphones or other mobile devices to talk, check messages, and tap out texts.

That can be annoying for those hearing phone conversations that should be private, and for those getting jostled by pedestrians more focused on where their thumbs are moving than where their feet are going.

But even more annoying -- actually, kind of heartbreaking -- is seeing distracted digital devotees when they're with their kids or dogs.

In parks, children often glance at their parents for visual acknowledgment as they run around and clamber up playground equipment. But their moms and dads are frequently so absorbed with checking messages or talking on their smartphones that these glances are barely noticed.

Or picture a person walking a dog as the dog looks back at that person for approval. But the pet owner is too busy communicating with someone miles away to reciprocate Fido's eye contact.

Makes you wonder why some people have kids or canines when their need to connect with other living beings is mostly satisfied by wireless gadgets. They just can't seem to use this wonderful technology in moderation.

Which makes me want to throw up my hands and suggest that mobile gizmos be used even more. People could put a leash on a digital device and walk it like a dog, or slide their cell phone down a playground slide. Dropped calls, indeed.

One day, the ignored kids will get older and use wireless gadgets to ignore the parents who used to ignore them. But I'm not sure what revenge a dog can inflict on its distracted human. Gnaw a smartphone like a bone? Slobber on it? Heck, constantly connected pet owners should be thankful their digital devices aren't shaped like hydrants.

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