The Pitfalls of Playing Pokémon Go

Dangers of Augmented Reality Video Games

Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game, was released unto the wild July 6th, 2016 and may have already passed Twitter in the number of users. A staggering statistic that Ni-antic, its creators, and the Pokémon Company must be ecstatic about.

The game released for mobile devices on iOS and Android in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand is clearly a runaway hit.

Players who’ve downloaded the game literally trek around their local area and using the video cameras on their phones look for “Pokestops”, which are places to catch in-game Pokemon like Squirtle and Pikachu.

According to the developer’s website, if a Pokémon is nearby your device vibrates. The characters love public parks and other landmarks and some can only be found near “bodies of water” or in certain environments. When you’ve reached the spot in the real world where the in-game Pokemon is located, you capture it.

People are having fun, playing games, exercising, and getting out into the world – all great things.

However, the mass adoption of this new technology is leading to all kinds of unintended consequences. Users captivated by their screens have been lured into robberies, discovered dead bodies, and suffered numerous injures. In the five days since it’s launch, people have reported:

  • Car Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Slip and Fall Injuries
  • And More

Gotta Catch ‘em All!

A little common sense will go a long way in helping you avoid injury but it’s not clear how gamification, the application of adding game elements into other activities, can affect your judgement. Trying to catch all of the Pokémon in-game, may distract you in real-life.

Here are five tips to think about if you’re going to play an augmented reality game:

  1. Do Not Play and Drive — This should be obvious. Operating a mobile device is already illegal in many states because distracted driving kills.
  2. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings — In Melbourne, Australia police have had to warn people to look up from their phones when crossing the street. Seems like something you likely covered in grade school, but here we are again.
  3. Let Someone Know Where You Are — It’s always a good idea to let someone know where you’re going, if you’re traveling to an area that is unfamiliar to you.
  4. You’re In Public, Act Accordingly — If you’re going to a park, make sure it’s open. If there are other people around you, don’t ignore them, you may seem suspicious to them.
  5. Manage Your Battery Life — You don’t want to find yourself on the other side of town, without a way to call for help or find your way back home. Bring a phone charger in your car or an emergency battery backup.

Before you get up and go, think. You’ll have a lot more opportunities to reach a level 50 master trainer if you’re not laying in a hospital bed.

And if you’ve been injured because someone else has neglected to use his common sense, get a lawyer.

Avatar About Troy Dunn

Troy Dunn is a published author, professional artist, award winning environmentalist, certified permaculture designer, bachelor of the arts, associate of the sciences, 501(c)3 creator, and altruistic entrepreneur/COO for Altrumedia.