If you haven’t heard of the viral mobile “augmented reality” game Pokémon Go, you most likely aren’t watching the news or like me you have no interest in the game. I know nothing about the game, except for the fact that gamers are in search of virtual reality Pokémon Go characters. Initially, the news surrounding Pokémon Go was fun and light, but of late, Pokémon Go has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Some of the news behind the game are as benign as distracted gamers unwittingly falling into water while looking for Pokémon Go characters or to more serious events involving theft or death. Criminals lure unsuspecting gamers to areas with the intent of robbing or hurting them. Just today, I read about a 20 year old male who was shot and killed while playing Pokémon Go. And again today, I read about a fatal car crash involving a 21 year old man who was thought to be playing Pokémon Go while driving. Apparently, the 21 year old was driving in the wrong direction and hit a tracker trailer head on. The tractor trailer was carrying explosive material and the impact instantly killed both the truck driver and 21 year old.
But beyond these tragic events, I am becoming increasingly concerned about children playing the game. The game may lead children into a dangerous trap. A recent study published by law makers in New York found that upwards of 73% of local sex offenders’ addresses were within less than a block of items featured in the game. Alarming, isn’t it, that a game that is seemingly fun can be potentially harmful to our kids? Thus far, New York is the first state to ban sex offenders from using Pokémon Go.
I assume Pokémon Go is a fun game, otherwise it would not have been downloaded by 30 million people. But, safety trumps fun at all times. Be smart about the game, don’t let tragedy fall upon you or your loved ones. Here are some safety tips you can follow:
- Parents should not let their children roam alone without adult supervision.
- Avoid unfamiliar surroundings.
- Avoid playing in the dark or in poorly lit areas.
Below is an infographic from the New York Police Department that provides more Pokémon Go Safety Tips.