According to a study by AAA, young people are becoming so dangerously obsessed with social media that lives are being lost.
So, Clay High School junior marketing students Sara Berg and Alyson Naugle are getting the message out that behaviors need to change.
Berg and Naugle say teenagers are afraid of what they are missing out on in their social circles and on social media. This thought process causes them to check social media outlets and text their friends, while driving. That thought process and behavior is what leads to distracted driving.
“They fear they are missing out on what’s going on in other parts of their lives that they are not involved in that second. So, they always have that need to know what’s going on,” Berg said. “Even when I’m driving, if my phone goes off it bugs me and I know there is a text, or somebody is trying to contact me or say something to me. But, is it really worth it to pick that up? I could really just wait until the next five minutes and end my drive, pick it up and then see what they said.”
Naugle added, “We just want to stop that because it costs lives all the time.”
According to AAA, distraction was a factor for 60 percent of teen crashes, which includes 89
|Clay DECA students Alyson Naugle and Sara Berg with the crash car displayed as a reminder of what can happen as a result of FOMO. (Press photo
by Ken Grosjean)
percent of road-departure crashes and 75 percent of rear-end crashes.
That is say they need to take a stand and fight “FOMO”, an acronym for “Fear of Missing Out.”
Jamie Blazevich, Lucas County traffic safety program coordinator for the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie, says last week’s FOMO event and related activities at Clay High were designed to influence student driving behavior and spread awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.
Real crash car
The entire student body was first educated on FOMO starting on Monday with Ohio Department of Transportation officials placing digital signs at the entrance of the Clay parking lots asking students "What is FOMO?" The students then learned what FOMO is with videos explaining it and how it directly relates to distracted driving and other destructive decisions made while driving.
A crash car, provided by Superior Towing and Transport, was displayed near Stadium Road as a visual reminder of what could happen as a result of FOMO. Blazevich said the smashed automobile was involved in a real crash that resulted in a fatality.
Wednesday, Clay’s DECA program, in conjunction with the Lucas County Traffic Safety Program, held a special event titled "Fight FOMO" to inform students on the risks of being distracted while driving. The event began as the school day’s first item, at 8 a.m., with junior and senior students rotating through the Cinema Drive and Community Expo.
Junior and senior students participated through a 3D interactive presentation from Cinema Drive. The Cinema Drive experience is a 3D 90-minute video that includes an interactive remote, which targets young drivers in the beginning stages of learning how to drive. Cinema Drive takes students through the lives of teenagers who get caught up in undesirable driving habits, such as, speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and ultimately distracted driving.
The actors in the 3D video tell a story that is based on the lives of real teenagers who have lived through real trauma. It included a simulated crash that students got to watch wearing their 3D glasses, and then the students saw how the lives of the victims were changed forever after that — all based on real stories.
Along with Cinema Drive, students had the opportunity to partake in activities in the school gymnasium. All students were given the opportunity to sign a pledge against distracted driving, have photos taken and visit community and group booths that will educate them on the dangers of distracted driving.
To reinforce those dangers, students participated in hands-on activities to emphasize the consequences of distracted driving. Examples included a driving simulator, provided by ProMedica, and simulated distracted driving mat.
Blazevich says this is a new and innovative way for students to have fun while gaining awareness of the dangers they are exposing themselves to. She originally brought the idea to Clay Principal Jim Jurski.
“The concept became about because I’m into the brain and why we do things,” Blazevich said. “So, when I was researching on why we drive distracted, I wanted to see what can change our behavior because we have to get to the ‘why’ to change our behavior.
“In my research, I came up with ‘Fear of Missing Out’ because we are so fearful of what is going on in our social circles and our social media, and that we cannot stand to be disconnected for that short time that we are driving. Being that Clay is where I graduated from, and I have a connection with Mr. Jurski — I brought this idea to him and said, ‘We need to do something because this is something that can change our behaviors.’ He said, ‘Absolutely,’ so I said, ‘Let’s create a campaign that markets this fear of missing out.
“So, peer to peer education is where it’s at. It’s got to come from your peers, so we started this campaign on social media. You’ve got to meet the kids where they are at, and its social media-based.”
The entire event was organized by Berg and Naugle, who were named chairpersons of a public relations campaign about distracted driving.
“Through Jamie, we had to contact Cinema Drive, and we had to have multiple meetings with Jamie,” Naugle said. “Then, afterwards at the community expo, we asked a bunch of businesses if they would like to have booths.
“We’ve worked hours and hours after school and on the weekends. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been worth it,” Naugle continued, adding that if one life is saved she feels they’ve done their job.
Jurski said Berg and Naugle are using the presentation as part of their marketing project they will be presenting at the State DECA competition.
DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. It is a component of the marketing education program at Clay for students interested in a career in the business industry.
The Lucas County Traffic Safety Program is funded through a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ohio Department of Public Safety's Traffic Safety Office and is administered by the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. Visit www.esclakeeriewest.org/traffic-safety for more information.