'Pokemon Go' Craze Has Local Safety Officials Concerned

‘Pokemon Go’ Craze Has Local Safety Officials Concerned

In case you haven’t heard, the latest and literally game-changing craze with Kane County young people is the new Pokemon Go virtual reality app.

The game has gone viral, to say the least. Stock for Nintendo, creator of the Pokemon Go app, surged nearly 25 percent in Tokyo on Monday, after jumping 9 percent on Friday, according to CNN.

Pokemon Go AThe new smartphone game basically allows players to use their smartphone’s GPS to find and potentially do digital battle with mythical characters made popular over the past two decades or more through the Pokemon card game, TV show and movies. You’ve probably already noticed groups of teens and young adults, eyes glued to their cell phones as they wander around downtown areas, parks, museums and other public places throughout Kane County.

The good news is that it gets game players — typically young folks who might otherwise be sitting at home playing a game in a dark room — outside for some exercise and sunshine.

The bad news, at least for local public officials, is that the distraction can be dangerous.

Pokemon ElginOn the Elgin Police Department Facebook page, you’ll see a post showing a night-shift officer searching for Pokémon on his lunch break.

“Unfortunately he was unable to find any wandering outside the Police Department,” the Facebook post says. “We noticed a lot of people searching the downtown area tonight. Please remember to always be safe and aware of your surroundings while you search!”

Older adults often cringe when they see a young person riding a bike and staring at a cellphone or wandering across a street in a distracted Pokemon coma.

Forbes already has posted an article on the “5 Important Safety Tips for Pokemon Go.” No. 5 is “Don’t Play While Driving.”

Another potential danger is that Pokemon Go could be catching personal data from your smartphone.

CNET reports that if you sign up for Pokemon Go using your Google account on an iOS device, the app is granted access to your Google account. That’s a little scary, too, in this age of identity theft.

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Screenshot from Tech Insider.