Pokemon Go Causes Controversy

By Taylor Szczepaniuk | Urban Journalism

Mobile game Pokémon Go is a summer sensation, with more than 75 million downloads and counting.

According to SensorTower, the number of downloads is growing every day, by people of all different ages. Although people all over the world seem to love Pokémon Go, there have been many accidents and injuries while playing it.

Businesses and police stations all over the United States are issuing warnings for those who play the game.

In a tweet, Kennywood Park informed people that they would be removed from the premises for entering restricted areas while attempting to catch Pokémon.

Other facilities and business have released similar warnings.

The Pennsylvania Utility Commission recently issued a warning encouraging people to stay away from its facilities.

The agency’s website is advising people to be aware of their surroundings: “The commission also urges players to avoid trespassing on railroad tracks, or playing the game in other potentially hazardous locations.”

The Allegheny Health Network recently banned people from playing Pokémon Go at its facilities. According to an article written by Ben Schmitt, reporter for the Tribune Review, the health network contacted Niantic, the manufacturer, and demanded that all of the hospitals be removed from the app.

AHN advises people to report any sighting of individuals playing the game in its facilities.

Pokémon Go player Mark Vollmer, 23, said that the game was a good way to exercise and draw people out of the house.

The Export resident said he has never gotten hurt playing the game, because the app has pop-up reminders that serve as warnings about driving and trespassing while playing.

Vollmer shared how he would feel if the app were deleted from the app stores: “I would be devastated. It’s the Pokémon game I always wanted.”

Many Pokémon Go players stood behind the game and blamed the people for recent accidents and people getting hurt.

Nick Fmura, 20, said playing Pokémon Go is like reliving his childhood. He said he grew up playing Pokémon games, and seeing Pokémon continue to thrive makes him happy.

Muriel D’Alessandro, 18, said she only knew about people getting hurt because of the news.

She doesn’t think that Pokémon is a threat, because people are not wise playing the game: “People are always going to be (expletive) idiots.”

Chad Wertley, assistant professor of communication at Robert Morris University in Moon, talked about how technology has a certain control over people.

Wertley doesn’t believe that Pokémon Go is a threat to society and argued that it actually helps build communities.

He said there have been some instances of people taking advantage of the positive effects of Pokémon Go and turning it into something bad, but for the most part, people are getting more exercise and meeting new people.

Wertley believes human error has caused injuries and accidents: “Technology determinism simply means that technology controls, and we are powerless against it. People often take this view when there is something new, and they don’t quite understand it, so they blame it for what happens.”

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