Pokémon Gone

Pokémon Go is the rage with kids, teens, and adults the world over.  The app has enjoyed more downloads in five days than Tinder has had subscribers in five years.  There are more people using the Pokémon Go app than people using Twitter.  Shares in Nintendo soared by 53 percent in the first three days after the app’s release.

How the game works

The app uses basic GPS satellite tracking similar to Google Maps, as well as the phone’s clock.  This determines where a player is in the game. The player views his immediate surroundings through the camera screen of their smartphone to search for, and find, different Pokémon based on the info sent back from the GSP satellite tracking and clock settings.

Pokémon and Pokémon Gyms are everywhere

While there are a great many Pokémon wandering about the globe (according to the app), there are set places to find Pokémon Gyms.  Some places they’ve been set up include the London (England) headquarters of MI5 and MI6 as well as in the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC (USA) and the Auschwitz memorial in Poland.  There’s even one in a Hell’s Angel’s clubhouse in Whanganui (New Zealand).  Not everyone has expressed delight over the location of certain Pokémon Gyms and for good reason.

Crimes of opportunity have arisen

In Missouri, an armed gang who hacked the game’s system lured 11 young Pokémon Go fans to a secluded spot by making the site into a Pokéstop — and then robbed them.  Brett Miller, 17, Jamine Warner, 18, Shane Backer, 18, and a juvenile suspect, 16, were arrested on charges of during victims, first-degree robbery, and armed criminal action. That’s just one example of how crimes of opportunity have made the most of Pokémon Go as a tool for criminal activity.

Preventable accidents have increased

In Pennsylvania, a 15-year-old was hit by a car when she found herself at a busy highway during rush hour at 5:00 PM, and she tried to cross it so she could catch one of the game characters.  A 22-year-old Maine woman playing the game on her cellphone found herself in the ER after falling into a ditch, and a 23-year-old North Carolina waitress playing the game on her cellphone tripped over a cinder block that was used as a doorstop at a local business.

In San Diego, two men fell off a cliff while playing the game and had to be taken to hospital with unspecified trauma injuries.  In New York state, a 28-year-old driver ran into a tree because he was busy trying to a Pokémon and didn’t see he was on a crash trajectory with reality.  A 21-year-old  man in Oregon was stabbed in the street while playing Pokémon Go but the game was more important to him than getting proper immediate medical attention (one that eventually nabbed him eight stitches in his shoulder).

What the police have to say about Pokémon Go

Police departments everywhere are repeating themselves as they tell motorists to stop playing Pokémon Go while driving.  Is it really necessary to tell drivers not to drive distracted by something on their cellphones?  Apparently the answer to that, based on accidents, is YES.  The same goes for distracted walking: Pay attention!

And then there’s the issue of trespassing on private property which, in some parts of the world, could get you shot with no charges laid against the person with the weapon.

Final Note

Tomorrow, the so-called benefits of Pokémon Go as it pertains to the autism community will be discussed.  Be sure to tune in and comment on these two social issues stories.

Elyse Bruce

SUGGESTED READING

DRIVER IN POKÉMON GO CRASH IS A VET WHO KNOWS BETTER
http://www.syracuse.com/crime/index.ssf/2016/07/pokemon_go_crash_man_warns_about_distracted_driving_after_breaking_ankle_missing.html

DRIVERS IN WALKER END UP IN ACCIDENT, DITCHES WHILE PLAYING POKÉMON GO
http://www.wbrz.com/news/walker-drivers-playing-pokemon-go-in-accidents-running-into-ditches/

HOW POKEMANIA BROKE POKÉMON GO
http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/pokemon-go-how-pokemania-broke-mobile-gaming-app-20160712

IS POKÉMON REALLY DRIVING A CRIME WAVE?
http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/is-pokemon-go-really-driving-a-crime-wave-20160712

PLAYING POKÉMON GO IS BECOMING DANGEROUS
http://nypost.com/2016/07/09/pokemon-go-is-afflicting-players-with-real-world-injuries/

POKÉMON GO PLAYERS FALL OFF 90-FOOT OCEAN BLUFF
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/jul/13/pokemon-go-encinitas-cliff-fall/

POKÉMON GO USERS ARE REPORTING INJURIES, CAR CRASHES, AND SUNBURNS IN THEIR QUESTS TO CATCH ‘EM ALL
http://www.people.com/article/pokemon-go-users-tripping-falling-getting-sunburned-while-using-app

POLICE FEAR THE DARK SIDE OF POKÉMON GO
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-pokemon-cops-20160712-snap-htmlstory.html

ROAD ACCIDENTS, STABBINGS, AND CAR RACING: POKÉMON GO IS MADNESS REDEFINED
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/injuries-accidents-and-crimes-pokemon-go-is-madness-redefined/1/714903.html

TEN STRANGEST POKÉSTOP LOCATIONS
http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/pictures/pokemon-go-10-worst-pokestop-locations-20160713

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