It's hard to walk around Philadelphia without bumping into someone looking down at their phone. And no, we're no longer talking about simple texting or surfing the web. These days, many folks are enthralled and even addicted to the latest craze, Pokémon Go, an online update of the classic game wherein users search real-world locations to find and capture different Pokémon characters.
The pediatrician in me loves that a game is getting people outdoors and active. But, although the game only launched on July 6th, there already are reports of injuries resulting from playing the game. Though still too early for official injury reports, multiple articles relay stories of people tripping over objects or into people, falling into ditches and fracturing bones, getting sunburned, and most worringly- risking car crashes by playing while driving. Beyond physical injury from just playing the game, there are also multiple disturbing reports of individuals luring victims to locations using a certain add-on lure app and then robbing them.
Although we have still yet to learn the range and degree of injuries that stem from this new trend, clinicians should feel comfortable recommending some common sense advice for parents, teens and even younger children who might be playing the game:
- Don't play while crossing the street or driving.
- Be aware of your surroundings (objects, people, ditches in the ground) while playing the game.
- Parents need to make sure their children practice safe online practices. They should never respond to a Pokéstop lure without a grownup.
- Just as with other online programs, do not post your future locations, especially if you have children.
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