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Pokemon Go: One of the Big Problems

Marriage-Gods-Way-author-Scott-LaPierre - Pokemon GoWhy don’t I like Pokemon Go?

We live in a parsonage next to the church. My kids often bring lunch to my office. To reach me they walk through the parking lot. Assuming time permits, while eating I talk with my kids. Here is a conversation that just took place:

My kids: “There are two people in the parking lot.”
Me: “What are they doing?”
My kids: “We don’t know. Just sitting in a truck. We said, ‘hi’ to them, but they didn’t say anything.”

When my kids leave my office, I often stand at the door to watch them walk home. If it’s late, or like the other day when a murderer was on the loose, I walk them home. Since I didn’t know who the individuals are in the truck, I walked out with my kids. Here’s how the conversation went with the two people, although I’m leaving out some details so they remain anonymous:

Me: “How are you doing?”
Them: “Good.”
Me: “What are you doing? Can I help you with something?”
Them: “No, we’re just playing Pokemon Go.”
Me: “It brought you to our parking lot?”
Them (laughing): “Yes!”
Me: “My brother-and-sister-in-law live next door. Our associate pastor lives a few houses away. Between their kids and our kids there are lots of children playing, running, and riding around. Next week we’re going to have a lot of kids here for VBS. There are lots of activities throughout the week that have kids here too. This is why we try to limit traffic in our parking lot.”
Them: “Oh yeah, that makes sense. We totally understand.”

While talking to them, another car pulled up and two kids (I’d guess 7 or 8) got out staring at their devices. I thought, “An adult is driving them around for this?” Back to the conversation with the individuals in the truck:

Me: “Are they here for Pokemon too?”
Them (laughing again): “I’m sure.”
Me: “Are there going to be a lot of people coming here?”
Them: “Probably, but you don’t have to worry, because they’ll drive through without stopping. They just need to have visited.”

Let me present these words more accurately: “People are going to be driving around staring at their phones instead of looking at what’s in front of their vehicles.”

Then another car pulled into the parking lot driven by a grown man. There were no kids in the car. In other words, a 50ish-year-old-man was playing. While his car was rolling forward, he was staring at his phone. Three vehicles within 5-10 minutes of each other.

Pokemon Go will make the statistics worse

The number of people getting in accidents because they are texting, looking at their phones, etc is already very high. Pokemon Go will increase these numbers. Here’s my advice:

  • Be safe out there!
  • Watch the road when you’re driving.
  • Take care of your kids.
  • Look out for other drivers who aren’t looking out for you.

Discuss: What do you think about Pokemon Go? Have you seen it cause any problems?

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15 thoughts on “Pokemon Go: One of the Big Problems

  1. It is sad to see so many people glued to their phones totally oblivious to real life.
    A couple things that I’ve seen on the local news is that this game has been used many times to rob people (apparently there is a signal beacon you can send out to all who are playing within a certain mile radius- it tells them to come to a certain location for something rare I think). Many are also concerned that this feature could potentially be used to kidnap, especially children.
    It’s very sad and also frightening to see the rampant addiction and societal disconnect this game has brought.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Joseph,
      It is pretty surprising to see how quickly so many people can get addicted!

    2. Yes, it is!

  2. Like we don’t have enough distracted drivers/walkers already! Everywhere I go people have the faces glued to their screens…restaurants when they should be interacting with their families, the grocery store where their blue tooth device makes them look like they are talking to themselves, or even church using a ‘Bible app’…really? I actually had someone run into me on the sidewalk the other day with their nose buried in their phone!

    I don’t know when and where the ‘real world’ and the ‘digital world’ collided but frankly I don’t like it!

    Our solution was to move to the country where there is no cellphone reception…yeah! To bad I can’t keep the kiddos on the farm forever, sigh.

    Great post! Kim

    1. Thanks Kim.

      I’m unfamiliar with how much land you all have, but if you have a farm that’d be great if your kids could build homes somewhere near you. I’ve always hoped our kids stay close too.

  3. We are NOT playing this “game” at our house. It’s sad to see people so hooked on this fad.

    1. Yes, it’s quickly become an addiction/obsession to many!

  4. They also drive around your community at night and make you think there are intruders on your property.

    1. Rebecca,
      Hmmm, hadn’t seen that yet, but yes, that makes sense. When people drive by your place without entering/approaching/letting you know why they’re present, you have to wonder what they’re doing. Seems creepy.

  5. Oh yikes. Apparently there’s a site where you can ask for your location to be on/off the Pokemon world/screen/whatever. Maybe we should do that?

    1. Jess,
      Yes, I just did that! Hopefully it works.

      Glad you think we should as well.

      I see the potential evangelistic opportunities, but I don’t think it outweighs the dangers.

    2. What is the address to opt out? I think EVERYONE you go there and click OFF.

  6. No one can dispute the inherent distraction that driving while watching any electronic device is dangerous to all people in proximity to the distracted driver. That being said there is power in knowledge here. First the game has some simple protocols to help prevent playing while driving. It won’t function if the GPS tracks your speed greater than 20 mph. While not a perfect solution its a start. Second, all churches, religious buildings, monuments, city monuments and buildings etc, are visit locations for the game. In order to play they must visit these locations. Usually the GPS requires them to be off the street a reasonable distance in order for the visit to work. Knowing this, how great would it be to set up a sign showing the best place for people to stop for the visit and spend a day each week handing out new testament bibles to all of the visitors? Just a thought….

    1. Hi Chris,
      Thanks for the comment.

      I wasn’t aware of any protocols, so yes, hearing that there are some is encouraging; however, even one of the ones you mentioned isn’t very helpful. Considering the example I saw, most people will cruise through a parking lot looking at their phone at a speed less than 20MPH.

      Your observation about evangelistic opportunities is intriguing though :). On the Facebook post someone just said something similar about inviting them to VBS.

Do you have a question or thought? If so, please share!