Don’t Pokémon Go and drive

Published 12:00 pm Monday, July 18, 2016

My house is a Pokestop.

I know this because my son told me so. And his phone told him so.

I didn’t know what that meant when he told me. However, now I do.

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It’s answered a few questions like why I’ve seen an increase of people walking past my house, or in some cases, driving and/or parking near my house.

In some alternate universe, the land around my home is basically a store in the world of Pokémon Go. There, Pokémon trainers can buy Poké balls and potions to capture wild Pokémon.

This is all very serious business.

The truth is, I didn’t know what the heck my son was talking about when he explained all of this but I soon caught on it’s a new gaming app by Nintendo. My son is 29. He said he only learned about the game so he could play with his son who is 4.

The next day, he excitedly told me they had found several Pokémon that day while walking around the neighborhood. Some are even living in my house. My grandson wasn’t as excited. I saw through my son’s ploy to convince me this was all for my grandson’s benefit. He was having a blast with it and he’s not the only one.

That’s the basic premise of Pokémon, according to its developers. It was made to get people, in particular gamers, out of the house. Children, as well as adults by the millions around the world, are getting hooked on Pokémon Go, and why not? A little fun is what this world needs right now.

With our newsfeeds flooded with violence here and abroad, it seems people are seeking relief in a magical world where cute little colorful creatures live.

I can’t blame them.

These little creatures are everywhere. One was spotted on a coworker’s phone living next to my desk at work. Apparently, he’s a pretty elusive critter as when I posted I had a Charmander near my desk on Facebook, I had several “You’re lucky!” comments and people saying they were going to stop by to “catch him.” I then got added to a Facebook group called Pokémon Go: Oxford MS.

I don’t play personally but I’ve been able to pass on learned whereabouts of Pokémons to my son — you know, for my grandson’s sake.

I’ve also seen post after post of local people, some my age, talking about walking around Oxford looking for wild Pokémon. Many of them saying how the game has not only got them walking more but they’re learning more about Oxford and making new friends along the way.

The game is like GPS meets Pokémon while Geocaching. The map shows where Pokémons are located and it’s pretty specific. Another Pokestop is listed as being at the “Oxford EAGLE Award Wall.” I realized it was the EAGLE’s old office on the Square in the window where our awards were hung for people to see.

How did the program know that? It’s kind of creepy.

And unfortunately, creepy people have used the game to be more creepy. There’s been robberies where people sit and wait for people to show up to catch the Pokémon.

The game has also magnified the less-than-smart population as well, with people walking into traffic while looking at their phone, or in one story, walked off a cliff.

A 15-year-old boy was shot in North Carolina trying to break into a home of a single woman who thought he was a burglar.

Who would have guessed a cell phone game could kill people?

But do we blame the game or the people using it? I blame the people. Common sense is all that is needed.

Don’t let children walk around town in areas they don’t know without an adult. Pay attention to where you’re walking. Don’t Pokémon Go and drive.

I just wished the Pokémon living in my house would make themselves useful and wash a few dishes or something.

alyssa schnugg is city editor of the EAGLE. Write to her at