Dangers of Pokemon Go similar to texting: study2 min read . Updated: 18 Aug 2016, 02:24 PM IST
In the days after the game's release, reports started coming in of people falling, running into things or even walking into traffic playing Pokemon Go
Houston: The danger involved in playing the location-based augmented reality game Pokemon Go is similar to the hazards of texting, a new study has warned.
Pokemon Go, which released in July, uses global positioning system (GPS) to help players locate, capture, battle and train Pokemon who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player. The app quickly became a global phenomenon and has been downloaded by more than 100 million people worldwide.
In the days after the game’s release, reports started coming in of people falling, running into things or even walking into traffic playing Pokemon Go. “The problem with Pokemon Go, in my opinion, is that it leads to a whole new level of not only slowing down, but moving in a particular direction to chase your Pokemon," said Conrad Earnest, a research scientist at Texas A&M University in the US.
Last year, Earnest completed research focused on texting and walking. His team found that when compared with non-distracted walkers, texting and cognitively distracted walkers slowed down, took more steps and increased the height of their steps to go over obstacles. Researchers used the results to hypothesise that the slowed walking pace coupled with path deviations will eventually cause a trip-and-fall accident.
Earnest refers to that research to discuss recent concerns about dangers surrounding Pokemon Go. “Players are more likely to cross at a time when the crosswalk signs are not giving a clear go. They are more likely to cross in the middle of the street as opposed to a crosswalk," said Earnest.
“I think Pokemon Go is the potential recipe for more injuries and more pedestrian or traffic accidents," he said. According to Earnest, it is unrealistic to think people will just chase Pokemon on foot—they are also going to chase Pokemon behind the wheel as well. “A friend of mine was riding his unicycle in a low and slow traffic area and was crossing the street in a crosswalk. A woman in a car was chasing a Pokemon, ran a stop sign and hit him," said Earnest.
There have been similar incidents around the world, including people crashing into parked cars or running off the road altogether. “The more distractions you throw in the mix when you are trying to get from point A to point B, the greater likelihood of you running into a problem," said Earnest.