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Try to 'catch 'em all' - but avoid accidents

Pokemon is a marketing marvel. Created in Japan in the 90s, it enticed countless American kids with its unique fantasy characters, which humans are supposed to catch and train for compelling battles.

When Pokemon started, these battles took place through card games, hand-held Nintendo units or games consoles. It been now rebooted for the smartphone era, in the form of an app called Pokemon Go.

Mostly this is all good fun. But in several reported cases, it has contributed to car accidents. In today's post, we will update you on this phenomenon.

The upside of Go

One of the good things about Pokemon Go is that it encourages kids to get outside.

This is good because any kids raised in the digital era have lost touch with the outdoors. Some commentators use the term "nature deficit disorder" to refer to what is lost when kids so often stay inside to play on electronic devices.

Pokemon Go tackles this problem by using electronic devices to get people of all ages outside. It does this by encouraging people to capture Pokemon characters that are released onto screens in certain locations.

A downside: car accidents

Pokemon Go has quickly become one of the most popular smartphone apps ever. But in their zeal to get to the prescribed location, many people are getting into car accidents.

News reports this week reported on at least three documented instances of vehicle accidents linked to the use of Pokemon Go. In one case, a New York man playing the game drove into a tree; he went to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

In another case, a 15-year-old girl in Pennsylvania was hit by a car when she walked into the road while looking down at her phone as she was playing Pokemon Go. She suffered injuries to her collarbone and foot.

In short, Pokemon Go has added yet another potential distraction than can cause car accidents. As we discussed earlier this year in a post on distracted walking, digital distractions were already a serious problem, despite various restrictions on device use while driving.

Staying safe while having fun

The point of this post isn't to discourage the Pokemon enthusiasts in your household from trying to "catch 'em all." But no matter how compelling the Pokemon characters are, it's important to stay safe while having fun.

And if you or someone in your family does get hurt in an accident, a knowledgeable attorney can advise you about legal options for seeking compensation for the injuries.

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