Is Pokémon Go Dangerous?
First Pokémon Go Related Death Reported
Pokémon Go is the newest game craze to hit smartphones across the country and across the world. While the general idea of the game is to get people out and walking, it is proving to be more dangerous than many could have expected. Like many other immersive apps, games, and smart phone features, Pokémon Go takes individuals’ attention away, especially when it is being played while driving. Unfortunately, it was only a matter of time before Pokémon Go was responsible for someone’s death.
In Guatemala, two teenagers were playing the game, “tracking” Pokémon down a street, when they were gunned down in a violent attack. Authorities believe the teens had wandered into a dangerous area of the neighborhood while playing – one teen was killed and one severely injured as a result of the violent attack. One of the victim’s mothers does not understand why her son was even outside of the house. According to her, he left his bed after dark to play the game.
This has not been the only incident to cause injury or death as a result of playing Pokémon Go, however. In Baltimore, MD, a driver crashed his vehicle into a police cruiser while playing the game, and the incident was captured on the officer’s body cam. After witnessing the vehicle slam into the police car, law enforcement officers ran down to the scene to discover the driver outside of the vehicle, cell phone in hand. He later stated, “that’s what I get for playing this dumb…game.”
Pokémon Go is causing problems down under as well. While looking for Pokémon in Brisbane’s Central Business District’s Botanic Gardens, a teenage girl’s arm was broken by a falling tree branch, and she was taken to the local medical center and reported to be in stable condition. In Bosnia, authorities are concerned about Pokémon Go players wandering into dangerous areas where a large number of landmines remain unexploded – it is estimated that over 100,000 landmines remain buried.
Playing games like Pokémon Go while walking in busy areas or driving is just as dangerous as texting while behind the wheel. The game’s immersive and interactive nature completely takes drivers’ focus away from the road and their driving behavior in order to play the game. Responding to concerns, the creators of Pokémon Go have implemented warnings into the game’s interface that include messages like “Do Not Play While Driving” and “Pay Attention to Surroundings While Playing.”
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