I originally didn’t think this article was necessary. In my eyes, it was fairly obvious that Pokémon Go (PoGo) was helping people. However, since its release I have seen nothing but articles putting down PoGo and its players. This one lists all the horrible things about PoGo. Here even someone playing the game proceeds to badmouth it repeatedly. There’s even this horridly misinformed article saying that PoGo will be our economic downfall. One Reddit user even found an advertisement from a journalist looking for people’s negative PoGo experiences.
All of these articles are preying on the massive PoGo phenomenon by fear mongering. It’s a big app, and it is popular. For those outside of the circle, this spawns fear. Normally I would shrug off these negative articles, but today I read something that forced me to reply. It was in response to that Sun advertisement for negative experiences, from Reddit user Vrontoomz. As he says, “This is so frustrating to me. My mom called me all concerned about me playing PoGo because the only information she knows is from the news.”
This is why I feel I must reply with an article on all the good that PoGo is doing for the world.
It’s making people healthier
This is the most obvious benefit of PoGo, that it gets users active. People (like myself) who wouldn’t normally be active are getting out in the world to catch Pokémon. Its motivating people who seriously wanted to lose weight, but found it difficult to maintain. People like this man, who have trouble finding reasons to go outside. Or this woman, who is exercising for the first time in years. People are already seeing results too, like this person who has already lost three pounds.
I’ve seen so many people on the streets over the past week. So many of them are younger as well, the age demographic that typically stay inside. And I have to note that I am also out there with them! I typically only leave my house for food and occasional friend gatherings. This past week, with PoGo, I’ve walked over 35km. That may not be a lot to some people, but to me it’s around 30km more than I typically walk.
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PoGo is a mental health miracle. Okay, not quite, but it is helping quite a few people. Within days, reports started coming in about how PoGo has been changing people’s lives. Here someone talks about children with social issues reaching out to talk about Pokémon. This lady discusses how PoGo has given her motivation to be social for the first time in years. She overcame several disorders and was able to have normal human interaction because of PoGo.
There are also many people who suffer from depression who are seeing results. This man found himself in a slump, doing nothing but playing video games – something many of us can relate to. PoGo was the thing that pulled him out of his slump and forced him into social settings once again. Many family members are overjoyed as their loved ones are able to put aside their mental illnesses and just be people. This brother who is experiencing the simple joy of his sibling outside without breaking down.
Twitter users the world over have been tweeting their positive experiences with PoGo and mental health. My personal favourite is the reports regarding people with agoraphobia. They have an extreme fear of the outdoors, and typically stay inside for years at a time. PoGo has them roaming the streets after Pokémon, despite this crippling anxiety. The simple act of motivating people to leave the house and be social is doing wonders for the world.
With all these people leaving the house and interacting with each other, PoGo has done wonders for the community. As early as day one, people were reporting PoGo breaching international disputes. Here an American soldier in Germany discusses how he was able to talk peer-to-peer with a local boy.
Many local communities reported PoGo inspired gatherings. I myself went to a PoGo lure event in a city half an hour away from where I lived. I was able to experience thousands of other PoGo players all having a good time. A picture taken by Reddit user BroWithTheFr0 nicely sums up the community this game has fostered.
Despite what the news outlets are saying, Pokémon Go is a great thing. It is fostering local communities, helping people lose weight, and easing mental health issues. Many journalists have pounced on the few negative stories, but there is so much positive coming from this game. If you see someone playing it, don’t be rude to them or ask why they are playing a children’s game. If you ask nicely, many will be happy to explain what they are doing, and why it is so great. Pokémon Go has its own community, and it is a community of like-minded individuals all around the world. Everyone is just out to have a good time, so let’s not rain on anyone’s parade!