Is "Pokemon Go" Dangerous?

by Kaitlin Reilly

I still remember the first day that I received a Pokemon game. It was right before my first communion party, and I spent the majority of the celebration with my eyes glued to my newly-acquired Gameboy until my parents wisely took it away. My Pokemon phase since ended, but it seems like it's starting up again now that "Pokemon Go" exists. "Pokemon Go" is a new app that you can download from the Android or iOS store, and it's super similar to the early Gameboy adventures of your childhood — only with a twist. "Pokemon Go" tasks users with catching Pokemon in the real world, through augmented reality — basically, you use your phone's camera to "see" catchable Pokemon, and to battle things out in "gyms." Of course, with new technology comes questions — like, say, is "Pokemon Go" safe to play? It all depends on how you wield your new power.

If you're already on the "Pokemon Go" train, you may have read articles about people falling into not-so-awesome situations while playing the game. Though "Pokemon Go" is still a brand-new phenomenon, the O'Fallon, Missouri Police Department is investigating a string of armed robberies allegedly targeting " Pokemon Go " players. According to the police department, they believe criminals are using the game's "Pokestops," or real-world game locations used to collect game items and Pokemon, to target their victims. Given the new "Pokemon Go" theory "give them Pokemon and they will come," it's definitely possible for criminals to use the game to find potentially distracted players to take advantage of — but it's not just robberies you have to watch out for.

Niantic, Inc., the company behind "Pokemon Go," does tell players to watch out for their surroundings (should a hungry Gyarados come in your path) but that doesn't mean that "Pokemon Go" players shouldn't be reminded of the dangers of being distracted by your phone. Pokemon can be found in parking lots, streets, docks, and other places where you definitely should be alert. After all, if you wouldn't cross a busy street while texting, why would you do so while attempting to capture a Zubat?

"Pokemon Go" isn't dangerous — it's people not using it responsibly who are. If you want to catch 'em all, you first need to abide by the rules of common sense — even if it means missing out on a Squirtle or two.