Death by Pokémon

It feels like I traveled in a time machine to bring myself back in time. Pokémon? I hadn’t even heard the word spoken in year–until the new Pokémon Go app was released last week. I must say I would have never expected it to be so popular. In fact, it’s almost frightening to me.

This Pokémon craze is not helping our phone- and text-driven society. “Don’t text and drive” is a common demand that we hear on a daily basis. What’s next? “Don’t Pokémon and drive?” I believe the Pokémon Go app is only preventing people from verbally communicating with each other and further fostering people’s faces being stuck in their phone all day.

Pokémon Go players have been aimlessly traveling around with little to no regard of their surroundings, as they are stuck staring at their phone screens. This has caused many safety issues and various accidents. For example, a girl was recently hit by a car while she was crossing the street, because she was so engrossed in playing Pokémon Go. There have been several other accidents and injuries caused by this game. Additionally, institutions such as the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Arlington National Cemetery, both in Washington, DC, have requested to remove the Pokémon Go game from their property.  These sites feel it is disrespectful and inappropriate to play these types games at solemn places. Walking around University of Miami’s campus, it is easy to tell who is involved in the game. I find it humorous! Crowds of people clustered in certain areas of campus. What are they doing? Pokémon hunting, of course.

Luckily, the Pokémon revolution has not taken over our cohort. Our cohort has been able to continue to effectively communicate with each other, and find fun activities to do in Miami other than go hunting for different Pokémon characters. However, the Pokémon topic has been a prevalent conversation topic during this past week at my work sites. My schedule this summer has been more versatile than most – in addition to working at Legal Services of Greater Miami, I have had the opportunity to work with databases for a law professor at the University of Miami on Tuesdays and Thursdays. At UM this past week, many of my coworkers began talking to me about the Pokémon app, and asked me if I was involved in the craze. One woman told me she had seen at first hand someone driving while using the app on their phone! This was extremely surprising and frightening to me.

Where will the line be drawn? I’m sure the game is fun and entertaining, but it is our society that often gets carried away and overly immersed in technology. The obsession is real. It worries me that people are willing to sacrifice their safety in order to capture certain types of Pokémon characters.

-Jessica Roth

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One thought on “Death by Pokémon

  1. Pokemon mania has taken hold of San Francisco. Glad to hear that you and your cohort are avoiding it and are just as concerned about its impact on actual socialization and human interaction. Good news, though, is that a lot of gamers who don’t usually end up outside are now exploring their cities (albeit with a cell phone in hand/in face). And supposedly the game has helped a number of small business owners as gamers are stopping in to eat etc on their search. Anyhow, I’m glad to know that you and your group see the downside of devices. Enjoy the rest of your time in Miami!

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