The new mobile gaming app Pokemon GO is taking the world by storm. The game has single-handly caused Nintendo’s stock price to skyrocket and has resulted in people of all ages coming together in the dead of night to chase down the elusive Pikachu. In fact, the parking lots of many Pokestops and Pokemon Gyms are becoming overrun with players causing some establishments to limit use of the area to customers only. However, others fear that Pokemon GO may become dangerous, as trespassing and late-night game play may prove dangerous.
To prove that the game is dangerous, many social media users are pointing to the “death” of 15-year-old Arthur Disby who was reportedly shot by a neighbor, widow Ellen Jones, after Disby entered her home at 1 a.m. to catch a rare Pokemon. Though the story has been widely shared, the story was nothing more than satire and there have been no reports of any actual deaths from the playing of Pokemon GO.
The story originated on the satire website The National Report. The website features “shocking” headlines such as “Cincinnati to Create ‘Leash Law’ for Children under 12,” and “Hugh Hefner Sells Playboy Mansion, Opens Playboy Assisted Living Facility.” The website does have a disclaimer page if you are willing to dig into the site, which indicates everything on the website is satire. The disclaimer notes that “all news articles contained in the National Report are fiction.”
“National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental. Advice given is NOT to be construed as professional. If you are in need of professional help, please consult a professional. National Report is not intended for children under the age of 18.”
Despite the disclaimer, many people are mistaking the publication for a “real” news website. If you look at the comments on the Pokemon GO death article you can see that people believe that what they are reading is true. Some have used the Arthur Disby fake story as “proof” that the game is dangerous and should be immediately removed. Others are using it as a anti-gun or pro-gun advocacy piece.
Though the Arthur Disby story has proven false, there are some other legitimate concerns regarding the popularity of the game that have been reported by local authorities. In fact, the Pokemon GO app has a pre-game warning that is presented to all players before logging into the app which reminds players to pay attention to their surroundings. Police are also warning that some tech-savvy criminals are using the game to find robbery victims.
KFOR reports the real story of four teens who were arrested for holding a man at gunpoint after luring him to a location with a Lure Module at a Pokestop location. The teens allegedly placed the Lure Module at the location and waited for Pokemon GO gamers to arrive. The first man to arrive to the location was held at gunpoint and robbed. Though the victim was shaken up by the ordeal, he says he hopes it does not discourage others from playing the game as it has other positive attributes, such as physical fitness.
“The kid in the back passenger seat had a silver pistol and he got out of the car and put it in my face, told me to lose my stuff. It has encouraged me to walk 12 miles in the last 36 hours, so I hope people like this don’t discourage people from playing this game.”
According to KTLA, a number of police departments across the United States have issued warning regarding trespassing. The Goochland County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia pointed out to budding Pokemon trainers that going onto the property of churches, businesses, and government buildings after hours is trespassing and that you should wait for the business to open to approach. The police department in Wyoming, Minnesota, also encouraged people playing the game to use good judgement when looking for Pokemon around the property of others.
“Please don’t try it out at 1 AM and walk into someone’s backyard to catch one. Please. Pretty please. #PokemonGo.”
Others are just worried about the number of people playing Pokemon GO behind the wheel. Law enforcement says that the game is fun but should not be played when driving. Many police departments are telling users to stop, park, and then play.
What do you think about the Pokemon GO phenomena? Do you think the game is dangerous?