Pokémon Go has emerged as a cultural phenomenon [“Group: No-go for game ban,” News, Aug. 23]. Despite its benefits — such as an encouragement to exercise and explore Long Island — the game also poses risks, particularly for children. Predators have used Pokémon Go’s lure module to harm users, several players have been injured while distracted by the game, and players have been drawn to inappropriate locations.
My pediatric research group at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center of Northwell Health recommends that parents and guardians supervise children while they play, and restrict where and when they play. Older children should be reminded to constantly be aware of their surroundings and encouraged to play in groups.
We also urge Niantic Inc. and The Pokémon Co. to take steps to ensure young players’ safety, as these companies develop the game to include in-person trading. We suggest an information sheet for parents explaining all of the game’s features and safety hazards. We recommend that updates include parental controls limiting potentially harmful features, a method for parents to monitor children, and a panic button for children to alert parents or local law enforcement.
With appropriate precautions, Pokémon Go can be a fun and safe experience.
Zaid Bilgrami, Glen Oaks
Editor’s note: The writer is a clinical research assistant for Northwell Health in Lake Success.