The Dangers of 'Pokemon Go'

The Pokemon GO craze is in full force!

Released in July of 2016, the game now boasts more than 130 million downloads. What is meant to be an augmented reality game that gets folks outdoors, exploring their surroundings, and making new social connections has become dangerous, if users are not careful.

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If you're unfamiliar with how it works, let's run through the basics. Once a player downloads the free app and sets up their unique avatar, they're ready to hunt for Pokemon.

These wild creatures can be found anywhere including Pokemon gyms. Tools are needed to lure the Pokemon like Poke Balls, eggs, and potions which can be acquired at PokeStops. You navigate through the game like you navigate a real map, and can use the camera on your phone as the backdrop.

Players have the ability to make in app purchases that makes catching the Pokemon easier. Points and higher statuses are achieved the more Pokemon you collect.

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As you can imagine, people walking and driving around with their heads stuck in their phones can create problems. There have been numerous accidents that have happened while players are engrossed in the game. Some major monuments and governments have banned Pokemons from certain locations, like Hiroshima's atomic bomb memorial. 

The Pokemon are showing up in odd places like dashboards of cars, intersections, and bridges. The game is incredibly fun and addicting, and players need to be aware of their surroundings in order to stay safe and enjoy the game.

According to Fraghero, players have crashed on skateboards, fallen into holes, and unknowingly walked into busy streets to catch the Pokemon. For one teen in the Pittsburgh area, her quest to catch a Pokemon led her to a busy intersection, where she was hit by a car.

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The danger doesn't stop at physical injury. A group of robbers in O'Fallon, Missouri used the game to lure players into remote areas in order to steal their phones and other personal belongings.

Earlier this year, what was supposed to be a night of virtual reality turned deadly for a 20 year old college baseball player. The San Francisco resident was gunned down one night while playing Pokemon Go, with his killer's motive still unclear.

Be careful. If you choose to play the game or have children that wish to play, use good judgement. Look up while crossing the street, be aware of what hazards are around you at all times, and don't give strangers your location.

Dangerous situations can be avoided if we play responsibly.

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