Oops - Texting Teen Falls Into Manhole

Filed under: In The News, Teen Culture

OMG! Teen falls into a manhole while texting. Photo: sxc.hu

The dangers of teen texting: High cell phone bills, provocative pictures, car accidents and now ... falling into open manholes? It was bound to happen.

Proving that walking and texting don't mix, Staten Island 15-year-old Alexa Longueira recently found herself four feet under -- in a manhole. The teen had been sending a text message when she walked right into an uncovered manhole.

"It was four or five feet, it was very painful," Longueria told the Staten Island Advance. "I kind of crawled out and the DEP guys came running and helped me. They were just, like, 'I'm sorry! I'm sorry!'"

Longueira was taken to a local hospital and treated for cuts and scrapes, while the Department of Environmental Protection was left scrambling for an explanation. Local workers had turned their backs to get orange cones to mark the manhole when Longueira fell in.Of course, there's a lawsuit in the works -- apparently mostly because of the smell.

"Oh my God, it was putrid," says Longueria's mom, Kim. "One of her sneakers is still down there." But as for the walking and texting, Longueria's mom seems to think that's beside the point -- instead, she blames the workers who left the site unattended.

Granted, the DEP was momentarily negligent for not protecting the open hole. But the teen would likely have seen the danger had her eyes been looking ahead, rather than on her phone. Walking and texting is just plain risky behavior; check out this London street, where so many people were getting hurt running into lampposts. A local charity finally covered those pesky lampposts with cushions.

Our own Susan Avery -- senior editor here at ParentDish -- fell down a New York City manhole when she was just 10 years old. She'd been doing her own version of texting -- writing graffiti in chalk on a playground wall -- when she stepped to the side and, as her friend said, "There was no Susan there any more." Besides a bruised back, Susan recovered from her incident and is able to laugh about it today.

Thankfully, Longueria wasn't seriously hurt, and I think we can all learn -- and hopefully teach our kids -- from this lesson: If you're going to send a text, stop walking.

So who do you think is really at fault here? The city? The distracted teen? Or both?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.