If you walk outside and find people staring at their phones while pacing up and down the street or enthusiastically swiping, it’s because Pokémon Go has become a new sensation for millions of people. Pokémon Go is a futuristic augmented reality game that brings these “pocket monsters” to life and allows players to use their phones in capturing, collecting and battling them. When a Pokémon appears, the game accesses the player’s camera in his or her phone to make the monsters appear to be hovering in the player’s immediate vicinity. The game only allows players to track, find and catch Pokémon by walking while the app is open.
The good news is millions of people are enjoying this amazing advancement in technology by venturing outdoors and walking miles to catch Pokémon. The bad news? Millions of people are walking around cities with their eyes glued to their phones, or worse, while they drive.
Will Pokémon Go Cause a Spike in Pedestrian Accidents?
Since the game’s release more than a week ago, there have been no reported fatal pedestrian accidents—yet. However, there have been online posts and police reports of minor injuries players have sustained while playing Pokémon Go by tripping over themselves, falling, missing steps, walking into objects and getting struck by cars.
While the game does have a warning on the loading screen that reads “Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings,” there are steps Pokémon masters can take to keep themselves safe, including:
- Be aware of how you look while playing. Though you know you’re fulfilling your destiny and catching them all, you appear like any other pedestrian glancing at their phones. Car drivers may assume you’re paying attention to them when you’re not. Moreover, reports of confrontations have flooded in due to Pokémon players on private property. Make sure you aren’t accidentally loitering.
- Stay away from areas you do not feel safe in. There are police reports flooding in of players who were mugged because they were lured to an isolated area with promises of rare Pokémon. Legendary Pokémon are not worth risking your safety.
- Parents should talk to their children about how stay safe while trying to catch ‘em all. While it may be exciting to see children playing outside and getting some exercise, parents must explain the risks associated with this game and the importance of remaining alert.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6