We’re sure you’ve seen the horror stories.

2016 August 10
by J Storlie

MAN KILLED WHILE PLAYING POKEMON GO AT SAN FRANSCISCO PARK

28-YEAR-OLD MAN CRASHED INTO A TREE PLAYING POKEMON GO

TWO PEOPLE FELL 50 FEET OFF A CLIFF IN SAN DIEGO

FOUR TEENAGERS HAD TO BE RESCUED FROM A MINE AFTER BEING LOST FOR OVER FIVE HOURS

These stories are scary and tragic, and a reminder that safety should always come first. Unfortunately, there are countless accidental deaths every year, many of them related to recreation.

The Good Stuff

There’s a lot more positive to this phenomenon than media sensationalism may suggest. For example, Pokemon Go is helping kids with autism and Asperger’s:

“They want to play ‘Pokemon Go,’ and so does he, so it gives them something in common to do. The kids are so fixated on catching Pokemon that they are concentrating on finding them more than they are concentrating on his behaviors like they usually do,” Koppelman said. “As a result, he is finally finding himself in the middle of groups of kids he doesn’t even know, being welcome to play with them.”

There are also many stories showcasing the way the game can improve the lives of the mentally and physically ill. A Michigan children’s hospital is using the game to encourage young patients to do physical activity and socialize with each other. “Physical activity is not something patients necessarily want to do,” said J.J. Bouchard, digital media manager at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich. “But kids got excited about the game, so they don’t mind. Playing Pokémon Go encourages them not only to move, but also to go out of their rooms and talk to one another or to the hospital staff.”

And it looks like playing the game can even improve the health of the rest of us.

Within hours of Pokémon Go being available for download, it was driving people in the HealthUnlocked team to go for a walk. There were soon conversations about where they walked the previous night and, rather than lunches at their desk, they were off walking to get a Pokémon. Some people in the office have estimated they are walking more than 5K extra during the day since downloading the game.

And of course, we’ve all seen the stories about increased shelter dog walks and adoptions.

pokemon dog adoption

I’ll tell you a little secret: I grew up a nerd. When I was a kid, it was not cool to be geeky. It was not cool to get together and nerd out on the things I thought were cool. Now? It kind of is. Having fun with your friends is more socially acceptable than ever, and the merging of technology with pop culture is not only inevitable, but an incredibly positive addition to the way we socialize. Will people be harmed, while engaging in their chosen form of recreation? Will they die? Will they discover dead bodies, or be mugged?

Yes. Accidents will happen, people will make poor choices, and some may even be injured or killed, if they don’t mind basic safety guidelines while indulging in their recreation of choice. That super sucks. I’m sorry, you guys. I wish I could make the world a safer place to have fun in.

Sidenote: Time magazine did an interesting piece earlier this year, on why Americans are more afraid than they used to be.

Fun is fun!

I don’t think the answer is to get rid of the fun. Every time you leave the house, you’re putting yourself in danger. I’m pretty sure most forms of recreation were mocked, in the beginning. I mean, why would one want to go about pedaling on a contraption with two wheels, when we have two perfectly good feet? Why would one want to slide down a mountain on two long, slim boards? Why would a group of friends want to cloister themselves in someone’s basement for hours on end and play tabletop games?

Because it’s fun. We like fun. Play is important for everyone, even grownups!

…adults play for many important reasons: building community, keeping the mind sharp and keeping close the ones you love.

And, says Brown, there’s another big factor: If we don’t play, there are serious consequences.

“What you begin to see when there’s major play deprivation in an otherwise competent adult is that they’re not much fun to be around,” he says. “You begin to see that the perseverance and joy in work is lessened and that life is much more laborious.”

In other words, all work and no play makes everyone a whole lot duller.

Yakima Networking enjoyed our Pokemon event at Kissell Park immensely. It was amazing to see people from all walks of life, gathered together and socializing, enjoying picnics and free wifi provided by Washington Broadband.

We are social animals, this is one more way that we get to have fun and be social, and you know what? I think that’s pretty awesome. So, what now? Well, get out there and catch ’em all! And look forward to more fun and features. Be safe, have fun, and ignore the naysayers.

Well, I mean, pretty much. You might want to stay off their lawns.

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