The Future is here, or is it? Have we brought virtual reality to the streets or did we create Smart Phone Zombies? You may have noticed citizens around your city with their smartphones out and their heads down wandering the streets and wondered what is going on. Pokémon Go, which was released in July, is the newest craze when it comes to gaming. Players, or “Trainers”, use their location-enabled smartphone to ‘catch’ Pokémon that have been scattered around town in the augmented reality interface. The game has received praise for its uniqueness and also for incentivizing users to venture out in to the real world. While Pokémon Go is getting players outside and active, it has also created an epidemic of distracted pedestrians wandering the streets. A car hit a Pennsylvania teenager while she was simultaneously playing the game and crossing the street. A 28-year-old Auburn man crashed his car into a tree while trying to catch a Pokémon, while two men in California fell off an 80-foot cliff when they were distracted by the game.

Players need to be aware of the (actual) world around them while they are playing Pokémon Go, for their safety and the safety of others. Here are some safety tips for playing Pokémon Go:
• Play in areas you are familiar with
• Be aware of your surroundings: Look up from your phone!
• Don’t get too close to roads
• Watch out for other pedestrians
• Be mindful of displaying your phone, as it is a very desirable item!
• Carry an extra phone charger as the app tends to drain your phone’s battery
• If you are a younger player, try to go out in groups
• Don’t trespass on private property

The Gazette Live said it perfectly, “In a nutshell - Don’t be Drowzee while you’re playing; Exeggcute some caution while you’re out and about being a Geodude - and be aware of Oddish situations which could cause you Gloom!”

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CATEGORIES: Pedestrian Safety