Pokémon Go has cast a spell over millions who are playing the game. For those who aren’t familiar with the phenomenon yet, it’s a game based on Pokémon characters which is played on your phone in real life. The camera of the phone is used along with the game to ‘project’ the image of the Pokémon characters onto real life around you. You must then catch them. This results in people gazing intently at the phone screens, chasing fictional characters in real life – across streets, into stores and parks, and into potentially dangers or deadly situations.
Police across Canada are warning people that playing augmented reality games like Pokémon Go is resulting in many injuries and accidents. The game can lure people into dangerous situations, and there have been reports of traffic accidents and robberies while people played enthusiastically, unaware of their surroundings.
Edmonton Police have gone so far as to tweet warnings to the public.
Reports of people wandering into private yards and homes, cemeteries and even restricted parking lots have been made. Vancouver Police report their headquarters have been ‘invaded’ by the characters. There are reports of teens being robbed of their phones, and in America police are warning that trespasses may be shot if they encounter an armed property owner.
The specific cause of this distraction is new, but the problem of distracted walking and driving isn’t. Please concentrate on your task at hand, if you are playing the game be aware of your surroundings and where you are going. Don’t drive and play.