Pokemon Go on Campus

Just for fun …

The past week or so has been interesting, reading about the latest national craze: Pokemon Go. Have you heard about it? If not, here’s an explanation:

Pokémon Go (stylized as Pokémon GO) is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic and published by The Pokémon Company as part of the Pokémon franchise. It was released worldwide in July 2016 for iOS and Android devices.

The game allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual Pokémon who appear throughout the real world. It makes use of GPS and the camera of compatible devices. Although the game is free-to-play, it supports in-app purchases of additional gameplay items. An optional companion Bluetooth wearable device, the Pokémon Go Plus, is planned for future release and will alert users when Pokémon are nearby …

The excitement and even hysteria about this game was immediate and one has to wonder how long the craze will last. It shows no signs of abating anytime soon.

Of course, some of the most ardent participants are college students who, armed with their trusty smartphones, wander hither and thither looking for the game’s objects of desire. There’s an interesting story about Pokemon Go in the Daily Mail, which blares …

They’ve gotta catch ’em all! Hoards of Pokemon Go players overrun college campus in search of Squirtle

pokemon go 3

… and notes:

    – Swarm of Pokemon Go players filmed wandering through Florida International University on Sunday in search of Squirtle
    – One player began screaming when he became the first to find the Pokemon
    – But cellphone footage shows him attempting to catch the character but missing repeatedly and video ends with Squirtle still free
    – Pokemon Go is an augmented reality take on the 1990s kids card game
    – Popular app has overtaken Tinder and Twitter since its release last week

Will Pokemon Go “go public”? An IPO beckons.

Such unbridled enthusiasm isn’t limited to college students and isn’t always in the best interests of the general public:

Police warn of dangers of Pokemon Go

It didn’t take long for the wildly popular smartphone game Pokemon Go to pose a few problems.

Gamers have been playing like crazy since Pokemon Go was released, trying to catch creatures all over town. However, the game has led police to warn of distracted driving.

The Ohio State Patrol tweeted about the dangers of playing the game while driving: “Please #DontCatchAndDrive! We know you want to catch ’em all, but do so safely!” …

… Pokemon Go has caused danger to pedestrians, too. The Beachwood, NJ Police Department posted a Facebook status stating that they’ve witnessed people walking into poles and into busy streets while watching their screens for pokemon to appear.

pokeman in car

Beyond just pedestrian and car accidents, Pokemon Go has been involved in some instances of crime. In Missouri, robbers used lures in the game to bring more pokemon to a specific area, reported KSDK. When innocent players came to catch the pokemon, they were robbed of their belongings.

While Pokemon Go has many benefits of exercise and socialization, its dangers are coming up with its popularity.

As always, College Confidential’s discussion forum is overflowing with comments from both participants and observers. I started a thread that included some interesting facts about Pokemon Go — FYI: 7 Things We Learned About The Insta-Popular Pokemon Go — and it immediately loaded up with excited (and skeptical) fans’ comments. Here’s a sampling:

– There are a lot of things about that that are disturbing..;I have been reading reports that the company who produced the game retain the rights to collect a lot of data about you, including e-mail accountsand the like. Worse, you sign in using your google account from an IOS device, according to buzzfeed that would give them access to the totality of your google accounts, including e-mail, google drive docs and the like. Because of the detailed location mapping the game requires, it means they have a map pretty much of everywhere you go and what you are doing (again, this has been written about in several places).

– This is the real way for the criminals to lure kids…..the way I see it.  

– Most of what you’re hearing … is fake. Snopes has been frantically working to debunk all the crap going around.

Even statements released by police (as in a case in MO) is complete rubbish. They have no idea how the game works and what they described isn’t possible.

I play. Pretty much everyone I know plays. It’s not a big deal and the myths out there about it are mindboggling.

ETA: You can read a statement by the victim here describing what actually happened: http://www.snopes.com/2016/07/10/armed-robbers-used-pokemon-go/

– I was walking around Central Park yesterday and saw dozens of people trying to catch Pokemon. It seems like a blast. Plus you get to say great things like “aw, it’s raining, I can’t go outside and play video games.” I guess I’m kind of biased because my boyfriend is the official Pokemon Go reporter at a certain newspaper so it’s all I’ve been hearing about for the past week, but it really seems like nothing more than pure fun.  

pokemon zombies

– Apparently my house has some significance with this game. I live in a very walkable neighborhood. I have looked outside at various times no less than six times to see a nerd aiming his iPhone at my house. They are standing in the street and not trespassing. It bothers the puppy. I find it funny but a little creepy. The busy time will be this evening right before sunset. Gotta Catch Em All!  

– Suddenly kids on bikes in the neighborhood and kids walking through our woods with flashlights last night. What fun. I want to play.

If you look at most apps that you download you are giving permission for MUCH more than you think. Read some of those term agreements. They are insane.  

– We are dealing with some fall-out from this silly craze at work right now, so a coworker had to load the app & showed it to us. It seems like the Pokemon are getting loaded when people play there … but I don’t really know how the landmarks get loaded (Google Earth??), or how they end up all over the area. It creeps me out! Our Pokemon was trying to get into the vault in our office … another was seen on a chair outside a coworker’s office on another floor. While we were looking at it, three young kids were at the landmark located outside our building (a fountain) … it’s way too strange, and I really don’t like the fact that people are coming into our building to try to find Pokemon. This is a place of business, for Pete’s sake. Go play in a park! 

– My running partner and I got breakfast in a little cafe in a downtown park. The employee said there were at least thirty people in their business, playing the game yesterday. I should have asked him if that was a positive or negative thing! Their business shows up on the game, so that’s why people are drawn to it. I would imagine most of them don’t order food there, though.  

– Our town made a hilarious video about how to stay safe while catching Pokemon in our local parks and posted it all over social media. Our church apparently has several Pokemon and a gym. Glad the town and the church have a sense of humor about it.
My son was a beta tester for this game. He would make comments when we were driving down the street–“there’s a [pokemon character] up ahead. Are we turning left here?” It did not get him outside to hunt the things in our 110 degree+ heat, however; and surprisingly he didn’t bother to get the app when it became available. It sounds kind of fun but the tracking and data collection bothers me. I haven’t tried it–yet.

So, now that were on the verge of a return to campus, what will be the eventual reality for Pokemon Go players — both students and parents?

Pokemon Go Gamers Asked to Leave Laredo Community College Campus

As many locals are enjoying the new Pokemon Go app around the Gateway City, one local man tells KGNS he had an unpleasant experience at one location.
The man says campus police allegedly approached the gamers and said to leave the campus property.

The man, who wishes not to be identified, explained he was using the app at the Main Entrance of the Laredo Community College. Other gamers were there, as well.

pokemon on campus

The man says campus police allegedly approached them and said to leave the campus property.

“The case was ‘What are you doing here? Get out of here!’ They were very rude. Very, very rude,” the man said. “I’m a taxpayer, and it’s my right to be here. It’s a street. I’m not doing anything wrong.”

The man also states he was using the app at the LCC campus since it is a safe area and has security.

LCC has issued a statement saying:

“The Laredo Community College Fort McIntosh and South Campuses are primarily intended to support the educational mission of our students, faculty and staff. …

… “Any visitors on campus during and/or after working hours can be asked by campus police to identify themselves and their purpose for being on campus.

“Campus police are present to ensure that no damage is done to any campus facilities and to ensure the safety of anyone on our campus.”

Bottom line: Have fun, but stay out of the Poke, Mon!


Be sure to check out all my college-related articles at College Confidential.

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