Pokemon Go has become a very popular app. This augmented reality app for the phone is taking over peoples’ lives. I constantly see groups of people walking around “catching” these Pokemon. Don’t get me wrong, I play the game myself. I will walk out of my apartment to go catch a Charmandar, but I would not go completely out of my way to go hunting like a lot of players have been doing. I often wonder why this app is so popular? Is it because my generation is reliving their childhood?
After doing more research on the game, there have been some interesting findings on the positivism it is having on the players’ mental health. Players have reported finding motivation to finally get out of bed to hunt for these Pokemon. Dr. John Grohol, founder of the mental health network Psych Central, says while the developers behind Pokémon Go didn’t “mean to create a mental health gaming app,” they’ve effectively done so. “Granted, it’s through their smartphone acting as an interface, but walking is walking, even if the motivation for doing so is to play a game,” Grohol writes. “For a person suffering from depression or another mood disorder, the idea of exercise can be nearly impossible to contemplate, much less do. For someone suffering from social anxiety, the idea of going outside and possibly bumping into others who may want to talk to you is daunting.”
All of these observations are very correct. I can personally say that just the other day my friends and I took a walk down the boardwalk and down the street to hunt for Pokemon (this was directly outside of one of our apartments). Normally we do not go on walks, but today we got to enjoy the outdoors. On this walk we encountered many groups of people playing. Everyone we encountered was nice and socialized with us. It was an interesting experience, but a positive one to say the least.
On the other hand, this game comes with some dangerous negatives. CBS news reports that there have been armed robberies done by using the Pokemon Go app- this is because individual players have gone to “Pokestops” alone (a place on the map where you can obtain various helpful items) and this is where the perpetrator will be waiting purposely. Other various accidents have been reported that this app has “caused”. Players have been walking into things, driving into things, getting into accidents, falling, and just getting hurt because they are too distracted by the game. Blaming the game for these accidents is not fair because the game does give a warning beforehand stating “stay aware of your surroundings.”
In the end of it all, I must say that the accidents are mainly chalked up to carelessness on the players’ end. To play this game and not get injured, you must pay attention to the real world around you as well. As for the robberies- this is alarming, but also poses for more caution while playing the game. My advice for this would be to not go to a “pokestop” at night and to not go hunting alone. Overall, I do not know how long this fad will go on for, but for the time being stay safe and have fun!
Blog posts are written by Shore House members and staff.