It’s time to talk about Pokémon Go.
(Photo credit: Jake Troncone)
I took the above picture last Friday, for the everyday millenial it may appear to be a general scene of everyday life; a young guy on his phone at the beach, however I see so much more than that. Before I continue I would like to mention that prior to taking the photo I asked the gentleman if it was okay for me to photograph him, upon his approval I took a few snaps and allowed him to pick one and then watch me delete the rest from my phone gallery. After explaining to him how I am going to use the photo I gave him the link to my blog, my phone number and email so if at any time he wished for me to remove the photo or alter anything he had the chance to. Remember kids, taking pictures of people without their consent is not cool.
As you can see in the photo, exaggerated by some fancy filtering is quite a nice setting… white boats floating on the water of a calm beach surrounded by greenery – a pretty ideal setting if you ask me. The question I asked the subject (for the sake of annonymity, let’s call him ‘Nathan’) was “what on your phone has got you so distracted that you would rather look at it than the beauty that surrounds you?” Nathan’s answer… ‘Pokémon Go.’
(Source: Loki Facepalm)
I am in two minds about this game, on one hand I applaud the creators for getting technology-addicted minds off the sofa and into the real world but on the other hand what’s the good in being out in such a beautiful place when the only thing your looking at is your phone? Don’t get me wrong, I am being completely hypocritical here, I love my phone. There’s no denying it. I could scroll Instagram or Facebook for hours on end and wonder where the time went but this for some reason is different. I find it hard to believe that we live in a day and age where catching a virtual creature with a virtual ball inside a virtual world is more important than, well, reality.
Perhaps I am being close-minded, and I am not one to deny that but the reality (interesting choice of words I know) is that public use of phones has surfaced in public debate and I am not the only one that thinks this way.
Wales Online opinion writer Carolyn Hitt comments on her perception of Pokémon Go and notes that she believes “…It’s a bit sad that the only way you’ll get the kids to a park or a museum is wielding an iPhone in pursuit of a cartoon turtle called Squirtle but there we are” (Hitt 2016). Hitt continues to reflect on her fundamental beliefs of childhood and I agree with her when she proposes that “…Children have thus been deprived of yet another essential leisure pastime” (Hitt 2016).
Hitt is not the only journalist writing about it, Mike Elgan from eWeek discusses in his article the long list of injuries that have resulted from people being lost in the hunt for digitalised creatures. However the one incident that shocked me the most was that reports have surfaced accusing “…Pokémon players trampling graveyards” (Elgan 2016). This is just not okay. What this shows is that people are losing touch with the world around them by being lost in the world in their hands.
This is not a new phenomena, virtual reality games have been around for years however what makes Pokémon Go different from the rest is that it brings the notion of virtual reality and puts it head to head with reality.
Tom Buontempo, chief business development officer at Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal and Partners discusses with Fox News that the reality of the matter is that social media, the digital world and the technological shift is not going away. Buoentempo pin points this as being the consequence of people’s obsession with sharing the …”concept of their ideal self” (Buoentempo 2013). Interestingly enough Buoentempo believes that there will be a point in the future when “…technology is so seamless and intuitive that it’s not really going to disrupt the experience itself” (Buoentempo 2013) and it may be true, but nothing is as real as reality.
Until next time,
Elgan M, 2016, Why the Herd Instinct Makes Pokémon Go a Public Menace, eWeek, weblog post, 18 July, viewed 3 September 2016, <http://www.eweek.com/mobile/why-the-herd-instinct-makes-pokemon-go-a-public-menace.html>.
Fox News Tech, 2013, Are you missing out on life because you are too busy recording it on your phone?, Fox News, weblog post, 27 August, viewed 3 September 2016, <http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/08/27/short-film-about-smartphone-addiction-goes-viral.html>.
Hitt C, 2016, How Pokemon Go, played on the most anti-social device of the 21st century, could actually improve societal integration, Wales Online, weblog post, 16 July, viewed 3 September 2016, <http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/how-pokemon-go-played-most-11622823>.