Personal Column: It is really necessary to catch ’em all?

Pokémon GO may be going too far.

For the few people who haven’t heard about it yet, Pokémon GO is a mobile game that was released for iOS and Android July 5. The game uses augmented reality so, via your phone’s camera, it appears as if the Pokémon is wherever you’re playing. Once you find it, you flick a Poké Ball to capture it, in hopes to catch ‘em all.

Maleyia Vaughn is a summer intern with the Mustang News and Yukon Review.

Maleyia Vaughn is a summer intern with the Mustang News and Yukon Review.

The game is unbelievably addicting and has definite positives, such as bringing people together or getting people outside and exercising. It also gets people to go to places they might not have known existed before. Pokestops allow players to go to real world locations and receive rewards such as Poké Balls, eggs, potions, or revives. Pokestops seem to have been randomly chosen, but are located at all types of places, including museums, landmarks, memorials, churches and restaurants.

Some businesses have used the game to bring in more customers. Frontier City Amusement Park, 11501 N. I-35 Service Rd. in Oklahoma City, even put out a Facebook post to inform people that the park is filled with Pokémon and Pokestops, and anyone who shows they have the app downloaded can get in for just $19.99 plus tax through the month of July. Definitely some smart advertising.

Plus, I was just as excited as anyone else when I found Bulbasaur, a Tauros with a combat power of 377, or when I evolved my Eevee into a Vaporeon with a CP of 560 and won a gym battle at Wildhorse Park.

But the game can also be dangerous. Pokémon and Pokestops can be anywhere, which includes private properties, streets, or even just secluded areas.

I’m sure many of you have seen the memes on Facebook with a text from “Mom” asking where the child is at 3 a.m. and them answering they’re out looking for Pokémon. Yes, it’s funny, but it’s not a joke at all actually. Children are choosing to leave their homes in search of Pokémon at all hours of the day, or night. Pokémon GO may have its positives, but it didn’t take all the bad out of this world. Parents should be extra aware of where their children are and go for walks to look for Pokémon with their children and not let them go out alone, especially at night. People of all ages should also be aware of their surroundings while walking outside rather than glued to a phone screen.

It’s also important to not search for Pokémon while you drive. Yes, it seems silly to say this, but this is an actual thing. Yukon Chief of Police John Corn put out a public service announcement on The City of Yukon Oklahoma Facebook page Monday in regards to the app. And although Pokémon was spelled wrong in the post, it still had a very important message.
“Pokeman GO app has created a craze across all ages, and the game leads people into situations and places that may be problematic. Gamers should know the limits of public and private property and the laws and ordinances that cover these types of properties and should consider their safety and well-being while playing the game,” the Facebook post read.

“Operating a motor vehicle and entering a roadway while playing the game are violations that the public should be aware of for their safety and others in the area.”

It’s very obvious when someone is driving and trying to catch Pokémon, and it’s incredibly dangerous. Please just put it away while driving or have a passenger play for you. That Pokémon is not worth anyone’s life.

“Playing “Pokemon Go” is potentially even more distracting than reading a simple text message,” read a post on GameNGuide.com.

Other dangers have arose with the game such as one Wyoming teen finding a dead body in a river while trying to catch a water Pokémon and Missouri police are investigating multiple armed robberies where players were targeted.
“Pokémon Go or Pokémon Go Away?” read a post on the City of Mustang Facebook page.

The game has positives and negatives, but the negatives are pretty dangerous and can be scary to think about. It’s a fun game, but it’s really not necessary to catch ‘em all.

So play, meet new people, walk around city parks, explore new places, but don’t go alone, and as the game’s starter screen says, please “Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings.”

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