Pokémon Go: Safe or Dangerous?
July 6 was a historic date for Pokémon fans as it meant the release of the app, Pokémon GO. This augmented-reality game developed by Niantic allows gamers to track and collect Pokemon characters in the real world with the use of augmented technology. While the app has received raving reviews on the entertaining experiences it provides users, whether or not certain users are knowledgeable enough to use this new gaming technology safely has been called into question.
“If people are playing it while they’re driving, which is illegal, that causes problems naturally. I would also say that if they’re just so involved with it that they’re not paying attention to their surroundings and being unobservant or careless, that could also be unsafe,” said Abby Orton ‘17.
Pokémon GO is designed to access the location of its users to generate PokeStops that are close to them. Since the app was first released, PokeStops have been known to appear in locations that people are not meant to wander into. An article by the Wall Street Journal listed PokeStop locations being in abandoned community centers, construction sites, and even along subway tracks. The app becomes risky to play in high crime areas especially. In these areas, players run the risk of being mugged or attacked.
“I think, personally, the whole aspect of having something on your phone when you’re moving is unsafe because it distracts you from your surroundings,” Kenneth Vaulkner ‘17 said.
Niantic has put measures in place to make sure that their game is safe by placing a form online that gamers can fill out to remove unsafe PokeStops. They also block Pokémon from appearing on airport runways, bodies of water, and other areas as well.