Social media users in China have expressed outrage after the emergence of a video clip of a toddler run over and killed by an SUV driver while her mother was too distracted by her smartphone to notice.
The CCTV footage, shared widely online, captured the horrific moment when the toddler was hit and run over by the car while her mother walked behind the girl, engrossed by her phone.
The girl reportedly died at the scene.
The death of the girl, referred to as Tutu by Chinese media, has sparked anger and sadness in China, as well as pronouncements about the nation’s obsession with social media and technology.
Even a local government agency had weighed in to the debate, urging people to cut back on smartphone use.
“Heart-wrenching! Put down your phone. Save the children!,” the Shandong provincial prosecutor’s office wrote on Weibo, the equivalent of Twitter in China.
“If the mobile phone was so much fun, then why had you given birth to the child?” asked web user “Xiaodingdangmaimaijimiqiu”.
“It is a bloody lesson. Everyone should be alerted not to play with a smartphone while walking. God knows how regretful the mother is,” a netizen in the username of “freeermiao” wrote on China’s twitter-like microblog Weibo.
The tragedy comes only six months after a similar incident in east China’s Anhui province in which a two-year-old boy ran on to a road while his mother was on her mobile phone, was hit and killed by a car.
In August, 2015, a a boy was hit and killed by a car in a parking building while his mother was checking her phone.
The New York Times reported that Chinese have documented and publicised the risks of calling or texting while driving.
In 2014, Shanghai police said that calling or texting while driving had caused nearly 30 per cent of the 690 fatal automobile accidents between January and October of that year, the paper noted.
The city’s police installed high-definition traffic cameras to identify motorists who use smartphones while driving, with offenders fined 200 renminbi, or around $A39, and penalised through a points system.