July 16, 2016

Pokémon Go app causes concerns

By Briana Williams —

Not long after its release, the app Pokémon Go has swept the nation. Millions downloaded the location-based game which allows players to capture and train Pokémon. There’s even a multi-player battle option available.

Within just the nine days since its debut, there’s been no shortage of controversies surrounding Pokémon Go.

Robberies in particular caused concern over the weekend for the University of Maryland. Within two hours on the campus, there were three Pokémon Go-related robberies. Victims were so immersed in the game that they were easily distracted from their surroundings when the suspect approached them.

Not surprisingly, the immersive environment of the game has also caused car accidents and injuries. One player had to go to the hospital for running into a tree while attempting to catch Pikachu.

With similar events happening around the country in such a short amount of time, it has people worried about the app altogether. Some schools and universities have even banned the game because of the potential hazards and distractions it may bring. The game’s creators made a statement on the incidents, urging gamers to be alert when playing.

“We encourage all people playing Pokémon Go to be aware of their surroundings and to play with friends when going to new or unfamiliar places,” the statement said.

But robberies and injuries aren’t the only issues surrounding the popular app. Historical sites and cemeteries criticized the game for allowing players to travel into respected areas to catch Pokémon. The Auschwitz Memorial site and Arlington National Cemetery are two sites that asked gamers to stop using their grounds to play the game.

There were also reports of gamers gathering in hoards outside of homes in order to play together. One gathering led to a homeowner angrily calling the police, accusing the players of trespassing.

Thousands of students will return to U of L’s campus in August, many being Pokémon Go players. While some will hardly notice a difference in the campus atmosphere, it’s possible that students will see plenty of gamers huddling together outside of the SAC this fall.

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