Pokemon Go’s addictive concerns

London, ON, Canada / 106.9 The X

13840649_10207869280344491_1752990123_oThe Forest City Comicon had Londoners running wild in every direction in Ivey Park Thursday evening playing Pokemon Go – the virtual phone game that’s much more than just a fad.

About 2, 000 people were there playing for a solid two hours or more. Families and people of all ages enjoying themselves outside. One family even set up a tent for the electronics in case it rained because thunderstorm warnings were in affect.

 

Every 30 minutes, Comicon was dropping fresh lures to send people running for Pokemon. Lures bring Pokemon to the location and often it’s the rarer mystical species. They even had Pokemon games to play through the app together to win hand-out prizes.

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A Facebook post advertising the event attracted hundreds, but sure enough many more than expected through the online invite showed up.

Emmanuel Guerrero, the host of London’s first Pokemon event and organizer for the Forest city Comicon, says he just wants people to take away with them that, “London has an incredibly tight-knit and sizable geek community that loves its fandoms and interacting with other people that love that fandom as well, whether it be at the Comicon or a Pokemon Go event.”

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After seeing all different ages come out to game it’s clear that Pokemon Go is a inter-generational phenomenon.The Pokemon monopoly has lasted for decades and only growing bigger.

Children are dragging their parents out of the house to play and vice versa- they love that kids are back to playing outside while also reliving their sense of nostalgic childhoods.

Arguments against the game say it’s worsening society’s technology dependent worse with people looking like mindless zombies, heads down constantly looking at screens. While others argue it’s great because people are finally getting outside: especially hardcore gamers.

Then concern becomes the possibilities of addiction.

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From the medical perspective, addiction is the concept of dependence and abuse, which is what makes it problematic. Dependence is when you need desperately need something to feel normal, while abuse in this context is when your life is being interfered with because of your habits. Often two major domains in your life will be interfered with, whether it be work and family, or family and recreation, or consequences of work or legality actions, etc. If this is the case then it’s something that has become problematic and abusive.

If you’re failing exams because your Pokemon Going all the time instead of studying or slacking off at work, unable to make13728457_10207869285264614_1710612830_o deadlines or in on time then these are signs of real negative impact. Or if your family starts complaining about your game use and their concerns may bee you’re not being a part of the family anymore then this is also problematic.

Dr.. Chris Mackie, the medical officer of health and CEO of the Middlesex London Health Unit, says, “It’s exciting people are interacting with the world and people around them. Public health has been trying to do for decades and Pokemon Go did it over night. It’s innovation and may begin shaping health initiatives moving forward.”

Dr. Mackie adds that it isn’t clear that this game is more addictive than any other, but if it is then it’s because of the interactive component.

Maggie Morgue is Comicon’s V-P, and she feels that people will probably be addicted: “Are people addicted to World’s of Warcraft and Cigarettes? Probably. This is the healthiest addiction that you could have. Doctors are saying patients are coming in because their legs hurt, congratulations!!! You are walking more and you are being active.”

13663485_10207869285344616_1987373236_oMeanwhile, John Houghton, also a member of the Comicon committee says, “As long as it’s not affecting your daily life in a negative way then it can only be something that is escapist, which can’t be any different than going to a movie on a Friday night.”

 

One major factor of addiction and its behavioral consequences are because of loneliness. People feel they don’t have family or friends supporting them or making their lives meaningful so they need something to fill the void.

“The weird thing about Pokemon Go is it has the interactive point. Even if it has an addiction problem it has some 13839856_10207869286824653_1598714893_oprotection because of its forced social aspect.” Says Dr. Mackie.

Joanne Bishop has a 10-year-old Pokemon master; she has thought about the problems that could rise from addiction and how to avoid it from becoming problematic or abusive.

“I control it: so I tell him we have an hour here or half an hour there while constantly reminding him to keep his head up and look, and absolutely no playing while crossing the street. We’re going over safety rules with him, and I think if all parents and people do that then there won’t be any problems with it and there’s no harm.”

Local Londoner at Pokemon in the Park, Matthew McIntyre, is a father and even games himself. He says that within his friends gaming culture the game will probably become highly addictive for some, but at least it’ll distract people from becoming addicted to far worse games. He says at least this one is active and non-violent.

 

13646674_10207869285784627_972189856_oIt seems almost rare now to find someone who has refrained from getting the game.

Dr. Mackie leaves us on this note: “If you’re not a gamer. I wouldn’t recommend getting the game because real like is always better. Invest your time in your family and friends, and the people you know love you.”13844251_10207869285664624_1196185576_o

 

 

Comicon plans to find ways to hold more playing events to bring communities together through Pokemon Go.

 

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