Pokémon Go, a game app released last week by NIntendo, has overtaken social media. The game allows players to ‘capture’ digital creatures at real locations by using their smart phones.
Now, the game is fueling public safety concerns. From driving accidents to distracted pedestrians, “Death by Pokémon is coming,” warns Gerry Breyer, law professor at Texas Tech University School of Law.
A Pennsylvania teenager was struck by a car when playing the game while crossing the street. Autumn Diesroth is lucky to be alive. Her mother, Tracy Nolan warns parents, “…don’t let your kids play this game because you don’t want to go through what I went through last night. I really thought I was losing my daughter,” she says.
The game is a modern take on the 1990’s kid’s card game. The smart phone app uses your phone’s GPS and clock to detect where you are, and then sends digital monsters to your phone screen. So you can see where it could be dangerous, and perhaps a huge distraction.
Developers have issued safety warnings, urging players to keep an eye on their surroundings while playing the game. But the warnings haven’t worked very well as players continue to injure themselves. Stories of driving injuries, broken bones and other serious injuries have been reported since the game’s release.
The danger increases when the virtual monsters begin running away from the player. Your monster may lead you down a ravine, into traffic, or off a cliff because your eyes are glued to the screen of your phone.
We’ve discussed many times the dangers of distracted driving and even distracted walking, but this takes distractions to a new level. Pokémon Go has even prompted warnings from police departments reminding players that they are still playing in the “real world”.
If you or your children are obsessed with this new game, be careful; and make sure that your children know the dangers of playing Pokémon Go.
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