Unless you live off the grid or avoid all news sources, you are most likely playing,or are curious about Pokemon Go, the active mobile game being played by over 10 million people. It’s only been out a few weeks and already it’s topping the amount of Twitter’s daily users, and logging more time than Facebook, according to various tracking firms.
I’ve read many positive reports about how much fun it is, how it gets people to move, not sit on a chair, gets people out of their homes to play together and boosts business for stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and other locations where people are looking for virtual pokemons. All good.
It’s also getting mega press because its stirring up quite a bit of controversy, from stories of people running after a Pokemon and falling off a cliff, to a man mistaking a pair of teenage players parked outside his house playing the game, for criminals, and opening fire on their vehicle. Pokemon Go allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual Pokémon not just in their room at home, but throughout their entire real world, which means they could be hunting on a street in New York city or at the public zoo, like the two boys who got arrested in Ohio jumping over the zoo’s fence. It’s also drawing attention about predators who try and lead people to them, and other privacy concerns, since it uses your phone’s GPS and clock to decide which Pokémon will appear in your game. Like second hand smoke, bystanders can be affected by Pokemon Go players, just by being near them. After all, with millions of people distracted by something other then what is in front of them, problems can occur. It was bad enough having the person in the car in front of you texting at a red light, or someone walking on the street bumping into you with their head down looking at their phone, but now they are living in a virtual world, unaware of their surroundings and that can be dangerous on many levels.
Then there’s the literal pain in the neck that the game is causing too. Having your neck bent forward and down while playing hours on end, places a greater demand on the cervical spine. Other muscles then kick in to compensate, which affects your back. Overworked back muscles can weaken the stomach muscles, and so forth. This domino effect spreads through every part of the body. Over time, experts say, this type of poor posture, sometimes called “text neck,” can lead to early wear-and-tear on the spine, degeneration, and even surgery, all leading to more stress on the body/mind. It is an epidemic. Just look around you, everyone has their heads down.
Here’s some solutions to enjoy the game and not harm yourself and others.
- Always stay aware of your body and your surroundings when you play.
- Keep your head up and don’t lean in to the phone so much..
- Take breaks and stretch your neck back and around.
- Find exercises and techniques to increase your body awareness.
- Find out how connected or disconnected you are with your body since going virtual.