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Why Is Pokemon Go Bad?

Updated on May 18, 2017
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It was 6th of July 2012 when the American software company Niantic released Pokemon Go in stores, before it became an internet phenomenon; around 10 million downloads in the first week, more than 75 million downloads in total and a 3.9/5 rating on Google store. Now the question is, how is it that Pokemon Go is proving to be dangerous with as users across the globe jump off cliffs, walk into glass doors, crash their cars, and creating public nuisance to the extent that some countries are considering it a threat to national security!

Before pondering over the big question, let's find out a bit about the game. Pokemon Go is a location based augmented reality game and a user starts by -
1. Creating an avatar (choosing the physical appearance, outfits, etc).
2. Using the user's current location the avatar is displayed on a map.
3. The map displays Pokegyms and Pokestops. Pokegyms being the battlegrounds and Pokestops the places to collect items like eggs, potions, pokeballs and equipment to lure wild Pokemon.
4. After capturing the Pokemon, the player is awarded stardusts and candies (game currency).

Player motto: Visit Pokestops, collect the items, use them to catch Pokemon; battle at Pokegyms, win and level up. Repeat this process until the user catches all the 151 Pokemon.

Harmless right? Not so, because all is not so well in the Pokeworld. Our addictions go furter than collecting little characters to our phones. By becoming engrossed in this phenonmenon we're allowing our inbuilt need to be seen to be successful effect our ability to be ware of the real world around us. We're being played as we 'play a game.'

While playing the game, sometimes users get so engrossed in the augmented reality, that they forget about the actual reality, and that is when actual reality hits back. So, below are some tips for being safe while enjoying the game:

Tip 1: Mind your surroundings while playing the game.

To capture a water-type Pokemon (which appear only near water), a man in Brooklyn, followed the Pokemon right into the pond, after catching it and ended up making a total fool out of himself. He is not the only one, two men fell off a cliff while playing; these people are joined by numerous others all around the world. A few incidents can be passed as minor accidents, but it is considered very serious when people start walking on railway tracks. There can be a lot of pressure on the user to level up in the game but it should not come at a cost of losing lives or developing life changing injuries.

Tip 2: Multitasking can be dangerous.

A man in Australia crashed into a college while chasing a Pokemon, fortunately, no one was injured. It's good when people try multitasking, it is productive sometimes, but when it comes to driving and playing Pokemon Go simultaneously, it is called being out of your mind. Forget about the lawsuits and possible imprisonment, maybe he/she deserve that, but if someone hits a real person, is it worth costing someone's life for catching a mere simulated Pokemon.
A lot of countries have banned playing the game while driving, with huge fines and numerous others, are taking lead. The insurance companies will not cover the car damage caused while playing the game, hence it will end up burning a hole in your pocket.

Tip 3: Personal safety is of utmost importnce.

There have been cases in which non-social elements are using the application to find other players in secluded spots such as underground parking lots, alleys and going to the extent of setting up lures for Pokemon, to attract players to such spots. Play the game but avoid places that are to be avoided, because your Pokemon, no matter how powerful, cannot save you from real life threats.

Tip 4: Be wary of the rulings of the respective national governments regarding the game.

The government of many countries has partially or completely banned the game citing national security, religious views and other reasons appropriate to the government of those countries. The Saudi Arabian government has released a fatwa (a religious Islamic ruling) banning the game in the country, mainly due to religious reasons, the Israeli government has banned the game on and near army bases. Please check with your relevant authorities to stay out of trouble.

Tip 5: Respect the place and people around

Players have been criticized for playing in cemeteries, memorials and other such places, which has high public and social value. So, it won't seem good, running around the cemetery catching Pikachu, while someone paying their respect. Play the game but don't create a nuisance for the people around.

What is it about this augmented reality that has the user risking personal safety and ignoring societal expectations?

To answer that, we need to ask a more fundamental question: Why do we love collecting things?

“There’s several general motivations — one is that it’s a challenge,” says Russell Belk, professor of marketing at York University in Toronto. “But it’s a challenge within a smaller world than generally succeeding in the world of business or a career, and so there’s a greater chance of success.” Collecting Pokemon is a lot like building a coin collection. It’s about taxonomy — the process of naming and classifying things into groups. The desire to collect isn’t driven by a need to complete a collection. Belk suggests “You’re not striving for that closure as much as striving for bigger and better collections,” he says. “That implies some social comparisons — that your collection is in some sense better than theirs.”

With Pokemon Go comes the social media discussions, ‘tweets’, screenshots, YouTube video and the like, that facilitates the need advertise achievements in comparison to others; the act of bragging feeds our desire to be seen to be successful which feeds our self esteem.

With Pokemon Go though, it seems that the addiction to be seen as achieving is causing users to become dangerously blind sighted to what is going around them, to break rules and regulations and to putting themselves into unnecessary danger... and that’s without the addition of unscrupulous beings using the augmented reality to take advantage of the apparent reduction of self awareness.

Pokémon Go Dangers Nearly One Year On

Now, an article on Time http://time.com/4780507/virtual-reality-vr-problems/ sees the CEO of Niantic Hanke, the company primarily responsible for the Pokémon Go phenomenon, say "I’m afraid [virtual reality] can be too good, in the sense of being an experience that people want to spend a huge amount of time in,” said Hanke. “I mean I already have concerns about my kids playing too much Minecraft, and that’s a wonderful game."

Hanke continued: “We’re human beings and there’s a lot of research out there that shows we’re actually a lot happier when we get exercise, when we go outside – and outside in nature in particular. I think it’s a problem for us as a society if we forgo that and spend all of time in a Ready Player One-style VR universe"

Pokémon Go may enable a little relief from indoor VR but the physical effects from looking down at the game is becoming all too apparent. There are now physical dangers associated with heavy smartphone use.

There is now research being conducted concerning the harmful effects of bending our heads a further 15 degrees forward over our smartphones can cause early wear and tear on the spine and early spinal degeneration. "Text neck," also known as "tech neck," is the pain and damage caused from looking down at a cell phone, tablet or other device too frequently and for too long. As we repeatedly pull and stretch this area, it may become inflamed over time, which can result in muscle strain, pinched nerves, herniated discs, and abnormalities to the neck's natural curvature.



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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 13 months ago from USA

      I will be glad when this is over too! Your article was informative and interesting. People need to channel their energy into something real. What is the world becoming?

    • AndreaRelli1111 profile image

      Andrea Picarelli 13 months ago from Orlando, Florida

      What a great article! Very well written and informative! I will be so relieved when the Pokemon Go craze is over. Some people think it is great that it is getting people outdoors more and making them get more exercise by walking but I think it does more harm than good personally. I saw on a talk show where a Mother was so addicted to the game that she left her child alone in a movie theater to go catch Pokemon. I think people already ignore each other to look at their phone too much and think game is going to encourage more isolation and social breakdowns in society. It is sad when a Mother would rather go chase a Pokemon instead of enjoying a movie with her child. I think people need to get back to talking to each other during meals and spending time in the park playing frisbee and ball as a family. Again, this is a great article. I look forward to reading more of your articles.