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Distractions Are Dangerous – Just Take a Look at Pokémon Go

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Distractions Are Dangerous - Just Take a Look at Pokémon Go

I’m going into this post knowing I’m unpopular, but with more than 40 years on this planet, I’ve become very comfortable with the uncomfortable. So here we go…
 

There is an innate danger with distraction. In the most basic of survival needs, we will distract an animal to hunt it. We need to eat. As animals move up the intelligence chain, they learn to do this with other animals so they can hunt them too. Distraction means we can only focus closely on one thing at a time and with that leaves areas of vulnerability. Again, this is in the simplest of ideas.

Distraction has become more complicated with time though. When we added drink holders to cars, for example, this meant we were going to have something in one hand while the driver held the wheel with the other. There is report after report which shows one-handed drivers are not safer than two-handed drivers. Doesn’t matter though, the drink holders persisted and we just kept adding more distractions to the vehicles over the years (radios, moon roofs, cigarette holders, etc.). Deaths have gone up too with distracted driving – in fact, there are now more deaths from distracted driving than drunk driving.

Fact: Mobile devices are distractions. Hey – I love my cellphone and if you tried to take it from me, it would be a fight! I’m not giving up my connection to the rest of the world and I certainly do not support anything which says we should do away with them. But…they are distractions:

…and now we have Pokemon Go. I live just five miles from O’Fallon, Missouri where four teens between 16 and 18 lured a Pokemon Go user to rob him at gunpoint. The Pokemon Go user was so distracted on collecting his virtual creature, he wasn’t paying attention that he had wandered into a trap. I believe strongly had the person not been distracted, they would have been able to sense, “I shouldn’t go in there.” Instead, he succumbed to the distraction of the game. He’s probably lucky to be alive.

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I had a close friend on Facebook mention he almost hit a teenager who ran between cars at a Target parking lot, completely distracted in trying to capture his creature that he didn’t see my friend until they slammed their brakes on. Who would have been in trouble for hitting a child though? Likely the driver – who thankfully was not distracted. 

Be smart about distractions. That’s all I”m asking. Personally, I’m not in favor of this application for a variety of reasons. Outside of the obvious distractions, they are causing across communities, it’s just another thing to keep people’s eye fixated to their phone and not each other. 

I’m opening Pandora’s Box of witchy comments. I expect to see:

  • Do you know how many steps I got in this week because of it? 
  • I spent the whole afternoon with my child because of this app!
  • Can’t you have a little fun?

Unfortunately, the amount of exposure this application puts so many young people in today is nothing to shrug off. I want to only remind that distractions are dangerous – be careful in how you use this game and any other distractions which could put you in harm’s way. 

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