The trending phrase “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” has been altered slightly and is being used as “Gotta Dispatch ‘Em All” by the Emergency Medical Technicians. Around America and soon around the globe it is feeling like the 90s again. Pokemania is sweeping across the planet with the release of the Augmented Reality (AR) mobile application Pokémon Go. If you are not familiar with it then you’ve probably been sleeping for the last few weeks.
Pokemon Go is an app installed on a GPS enabled smart phone or tablet. Players then use the GPS to find Pokemon characters and capture them. The game is using land marks and other historical locations as key locations in the game.
In just a few short weeks since its launch Pokemon Go has become the hottest social media app. It is credited with getting kids out of the house and exercising. It is also credited with creating a community of players during a time of rising tension and division in America.
Also during the first few weeks since launch two players have walked off the edge of a cliff in California. There have been numerous reports of people walking into walls, poles and street signs. There have also been reports of people trespassing into places they would not normally consider traveling through such as back yards or businesses that don’t normally have foot traffic.
A player of Pokémon Go was prompted by the game to catch some Pokémon characters in a body of water. Instead she found a dead body floating in the river in Riverton, Wyoming. Police departments have reported that armed robbers have used the application to lure the victims in and rob them at gun point. Suspects have already been taken in as police received reports of robberies taking place in different areas. One of the police stations in Australia has been set up as a Poke-Stop (place where Pokémon hunters get goodies). People started entering the station in order to reach the Poke-Stop. Officers had to stop them from entering the station. Poke-Stops and Poke-Gyms are set up in famous places like monuments or galleries. Sometimes these ‘Stops & Gyms’ are placed in Strip-clubs, Churches and Cemeteries. It hardly seems appropriate for a child playing the game to enter a strip club to play the game. Moreover the sanctity of Churches and cemeteries is ruined by people roaming around with their phones in their hands and yelling, “Yes, I got you now!!” The game requires movement from the player and most players walk, but not all of them do. One gamer decided to bypass the walking portion and attached his phone to a drone and linked it to a computer in order to catch a Pokémon in his area. A person ended up having his home set up as a Poke-Gym. As a result his home was visited by lots of strangers playing Pokemon Go. His complaint was that all the foot traffic to his property makes his home look like a drug dealer spot.
The obvious danger is that someone staring at their phone while playing Pokemon Go will walk into things. Even more of a concern is someone playing the game while driving, and there have been reported accidents as a result of this very behavior already. Children have reported pain and even sores from playing the game. Walking around with your neck down for extended periods of time can have a negative impact on your health. This phenomenon has been detected in children already from the use of smart phones and tablets. Pokemon Go would seem to amplify this health concern as children (and adults) spend hours upon hours glaring at the smart phone screen.
With concerns such as robberies, sunburns, aches and pains or long term injuries, critical accidents, & invading someone’s property; all experienced by gamers playing Pokemon Go. It is important that gamers raise their awareness while playing the game. Take care of your health and be alert of your surroundings.
Pokemon Go has some positive aspects but there are hidden dangers as well. It is important you know your rights should you or a loved one be injured as a result of someone else’s negligence while playing the game. Speak to an attorney if you find yourself in this situation.