Pokemon Go is the hot new video game that is capturing everyone’s attention, giving us all just one more reason to be distracted by our cell phones. The game itself, which originally gained popularity back in the mid-1990s and produced spin off television shows and trading cards, is played through your smartphone’s camera, and allows gamers to ‘catch’ virtual reality creatures in order to gain points. These virtual monsters can appear in any type of public place, and the game has been heralded for encouraging players to get out and about to play, as opposed to more traditional games that require sitting in a sedentary position in front of a computer or television screen. Unfortunately, it is the mobile aspect of the game that has given rise to Pokemon Go safety concerns regarding the potential risks for distracted driving accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of accidental injuries. Whether you are a player or know someone who is, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers of Pokemon Go, as well as how to protect yourself against these types of injuries while playing.
Pokemon Go Safety Risks
According to a July 2016 Wall Street Journal report on Pokemon Go safety concerns, while the video game is giving players their first real taste of how virtual reality technology can be used in everyday life, there are growing concerns about the potential safety risks these players are being exposed to. Designed by international game maker Niantic, Inc., in conjunction with video giant Nintendo, the game is uses Google maps to create a playing field in which Pokemon creatures can turn up in just about any real world location. Referred to as Pokestops, there are over five million of these places that had been previously designated by the company, many of which have the potential to pose safety concerns for users who are lured there in their quest to accumulate game points. Examples of potentially dangerous areas where Pokemon Go creatures may be sighted include:
- Isolated areas, such as such as woods and forests;
- Abandoned properties and areas under construction;
- Neighborhoods plagued by high crime or gang activity;
- Hard to reach locations, such as in trees or on cliffs.
In addition to the types of areas players may venture into, the danger factor increases when playing alone or at night. While the Wall Street Journal states that the game makers insist they have blocked creatures from appearing in roadways, airport runways, and bodies of water in the interest of player safety, there is nothing to prevent avid Pokemon hunters from attempting to cross these locations in their pursuit of monsters on the other side.
Pokemon Go Accidents and Injuries
A CBS Miami report on the dangers of Pokemon Go states that critics of the game cite player distraction as a main concern in terms of the risks for accidents and injuries. Players may become so immersed in playing the game that they lose sight of where they are headed or obstacles in their path, leading to an increased risk for the following types of accidents:
- Slip and fall accidents, resulting from stumbling obstacles in their path or falling from heights;
- Pedestrian accidents, due to not paying attention when stepping off sidewalks or crossing roadways;
- Bicycle and skateboard accidents, as the result of run ins with other objects or motorists;
- Distracted driving accidents, resulting from playing Pokemon Go behind the wheel.
While the Pokemon Go app itself contain a built in message warning players to refrain from playing the game while behind the wheel of a car and to pay attention to their surroundings, reports of distracted driving and pedestrian accidents have prompted federal officials to get involved. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued several notifications through the NHTSA twitter feed warning drivers of the dangers of playing Pokemon Go while driving, and also urging pedestrians to be aware of potential distractions that could increase their risks of accidents and injuries.
Talking To Your Loved Ones About The Possible Safety Concerns Of Pokemon Go
In light of the dangers of playing Pokemon Go and the safety risks players face in terms of being involved in the above types of accidents, you may want to speak with family members, friends, and loved ones about simple ways in which they can stay safe while playing. Ways in which you can help protect yourself and reduce Pokemon Go safety risks include the following:
- Play in teams, which will help keep you safe while also allowing you to accumulate more points;
- Use caution when playing at night, and wear bright, reflective clothing to increase your visibility;
- If a location looks isolated or is under construction, skip it;
- Always pay attention to where you are walking, and keep an eye out for any obstacles in your path;
- Never play Pokemon Go or any type of game while behind the wheel of a car, or while on a bike or skateboard;
- Stay away from busy streets and parking lots, and make sure to look up from your phone before attempting to cross the street.
If you are the parent of a child or teenager who enjoys playing Pokemon Go, consider playing along with them. As a shared activity, Pokemon Go can provide a good way to have fun, while at the same time getting physical exercise and working as a family team. It also allows you a better chance of keeping an eye on your children and preventing accidents and injuries, while demonstrating to them the best way to play safely.
Have You Been Injured?
If you or someone you care about has suffered injuries as the result of an accident or due to someone’s reckless or negligent conduct, contact our experienced Florida personal injury lawyers today. At the Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC, we provide the caring, comprehensive legal representation you need to assist you in getting the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to by law. Serving Brooksville and the surrounding Florida area, we can help; call or contact our office online today for a free and confidential consultation.