- As downloads pile up, so do the injuries. Find out how this new game is getting people hurt
- Discover how cunning criminals are preying on unwitting players
- Plus, the only item you need to stay safe in just about any situation.
Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
Last week, 19-year-old Shayla Wiggins found a dead body in the Big Wind River in Wyoming while hunting for a rare water Pokémon.
Wiggins reported, “I probably would have never went down there if it weren’t for this game.”
You see, Wiggins is talking about the Pokémon Go app, which was released by Niantic last week. And while it’s dominated the charts in the Apple Store, it’s also brought a mixed bag of activity — some healthy, some injurious, and some criminal.
The game requires players to catch Pokémon by using a GPS system linked to a digital game. This means players must go out into the real world and walk to different locations to catch the animated creatures.
But this blur between the digital and real worlds has proven both dangerous and helpful for those playing.
For some players, this activity-based game has forced them into more physical and social activity than they have had in years.
However, some players aren’t just catching Pokémon; they’re also catching hell.
Players Catch More Than They Bargained For
A quick look at the Twitterverse proves this:
Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t end with a dead body, car wrecks, rashes, sunburns, falls, and lost Squirtles.
The gruesome find and endless list of injuries hasn’t stopped Wiggins or other players from searching for Pokémon — even after threats to players became serious.
You see, PokéStops — locations in the real world that are represented by the player’s GPS as Pokémon GO destinations — are also putting some unsuspecting players in potentially dangerous situations. Since PokéStops allow players to catch Pokémon and replenish supplies, they are popular stops for many people trying to get ahead in the game.
And they attract criminals.
On Sunday morning, four suspects with a handgun were taken into custody from a PokéStop in O’Fallon, Missouri. The O’Fallon Police Department reports, “Using the geolocation feature of the Pokémon GO app, the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims.”
It’s believed the robbers were using a lure to bring more players to the site, where they could rob them.
But the problem is you don’t have to be playing Pokémon GO to be the unwitting victim of a crime or an accident — especially when you’re exercising.
One Way to Stay Safe in the Real Word
While Pokémon GO is being touted as one of the best unintentional health fads to date as well as a growing source of minor injuries, distracted exercise is not a new phenomenon.
It’s all too easy to wipe out on a jog when you’re obliviously gazing at your phone or health tracker. Or to take a wrong turn into unfriendly territory when you’re trying to beat your running time.
And even if you’re just doing something as simple as checking your email as you’re walking to your car, you could be putting yourself at risk — for both injury and crime.
That’s why it’s so important to practice personal safety when you’re “getting in the zone” in the real world — no matter if it’s motivated by your need to capture digital creatures, get in a few extra steps, or accomplish daily tasks.
The first and perhaps most obvious solution is to pay attention to your surroundings. If you’re in a new place, put your phone away and look at what’s going on around you. This way, you’re more likely to prevent an injury before it happens and won’t be an easy target for any close criminals.
Another easy way to protect yourself is to carry a tactical pen.
Tactical pens are made of solid aircraft-grade aluminum and make remarkable self-defense tools. This specially engineered pen can be used to stop attackers in their tracks.
And unlike a gun or knife, tactical pens are easy to carry and can be taken most almost anywhere (including airplanes). Personally, I never leave home without one! Whether I’m going for a short jog, walking to work, or going out for groceries, I make sure my tactical pen is in reach.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily