Can Pokemon Go Be Harmful to Your Health?

pokemon ash hurt
(Photo: The Pokemon Company)

Earlier this week, we spoke about the mental health benefits of playing Pokemon Go. Players are reporting the game's positive effects with dealing with mental health issues like depression and anxiety. However, the game has the potential for negative health consequences as well.

While the game encourages players to walk around, many players spend most of their times looking at their phones instead of their surroundings. There's been numerous accounts of players spraining their ankles, tripping, or falling because they were paying attention to Pokemon Go instead of looking where they were going. Bikers and car drivers playing Pokemon Go are at especially high risk for accidents, causing many local traffic and law enforcement agencies to release reminders not to drive and play Pokemon. It feels like it's a matter of time before we hear of the first fatal accident caused by or related to Pokemon Go.

In a recent Live Science article about the positive health effects of Pokemon Go, Dale Bond, an associate professor of psychiatry at Brown University, warned that some players could try to play too much Pokemon Go in one day, which could lead to muscle soreness and stress fractures. Bond encouraged Pokemon Go players who weren't used to physical activity to build up their activity rate slowly.

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Pokemon Go will have a net positive health effect for most players, and it's not like the mobile app is going to cause cancer or heart disease. However, players are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings and use their common sense while playing.