By now, you’ve most likely heard of the extremely popular smartphone app, Pokémon Go, the augmented reality location-based game that has fans who grew up with the 1998 franchise strolling down a nostalgic memory lane.
In fact, Go had the most downloads in its first week ever on the Apple app store and it has changed the gaming experience by literally altering reality.
I’ve spent the past few days reliving my childhood by exploring the great depths of my neighborhood looking for Pokémon and I must say, it has been quite the experience! For starters, I’ve probably walked more since downloading the app than I have in months. Additionally, not only did my steps trail for miles, but I also met new people along the way and found myself at unfamiliar places such as restaurants that are marked as Pokestops in the game’s map. There’s no doubt that Pokémon Go is inspiring innovative ways for people to interact while gaming especially by bringing gaming back to a communal experience. However, as fun and as exciting as this new trend has been, it has also been met with plenty of unintended consequences.
Although it hasn’t been long since the game was released, there’s already some horrible Pokémon Go stories circulating.
From people falling off a cliff in the San Diego county while playing the game to a Florida man firing shots at two teenage Pokémon Go players, there’s no denying the ruckus that this app is creating. Also, there is evidence that criminals are abusing the knowledge of the game to literally lure victims into traps.
“Definitely concerned about sexual predators. They can be on that app also trying to lure you to a certain location,”
Said OPD Officer Dale Schimtz.
What about your children, are they playing the game; is it safe for them?
How it works:
This free application lays digital creatures called Pokémon on a real-world map and the point is to get out there and “catch em’ all”! Players “catch” the virtual creatures with a Pokeball, which they can obtain at Pokestops- real life landmarks such as monuments, historic sites, public art, and businesses.
But did you know?
Pokémon Go may also be leading players to a sober-living facility that houses registered sex offenders in San Luis Obispo! The game has a Pokestop near Sunny Acres and players can choose to set a lure there- a beacon that attracts Pokémon for 30 minutes- or at any other Pokestop they’d like. This Pokestop, in particular, has attracted many players along with much controversy.
If you compare a map showing the nearest Pokémon to you with a map showing the nearest sex offenders, the results would be alarming! In Indiana, Randy Zuick, a registered sex offender, was arrested Wednesday for violating his probation conditions by playing Pokémon Go with a minor outside a courthouse.
While you may always be teaching your kids “stranger danger”, make sure your kids live safe by knowing how the dangers are evolving.