Pokemons are not a game

  • Italiano

They come from far away, unexpectedly, and they are everywhere. At sea, on the ground, and even in the skies. They have no documents and lately we have been witnessing a real invasion. Every nation is involved, every single country hosts many of them, because they are unstoppable, because they arrive without asking permission, without written procedures, papers, or money. They come, that is it.

Yet they are welcomed with open arms, in some cases, people even queue to get closer to them, actual gatherings to stay with them. We are not talking about migrants fleeing from lands full of pain, but about Pokemons, which are becoming a global phenomenon thanks to the app ‘‘Go’’ that asks for our reflection.

People do less and less to protest against taxes, against exploitation, for human rights, nor do they become indignant in the face of the victims of terror strikes on the outskirts of the world (the dead in Paris and Nice, paradoxically, have more “dignity” than those in Central Africa), but they dedicate their time to capture fantasy animals with their smartphones. Why do they do it? How great is the need to escape from everyday life that drives thousands of people of different sexes, religions, age groups, and economic situations to take the streets with the same ephemeral goal?

Reducing everything to a game means underestimating the problem. At least because this “game” has already caused accidents and injuries. Walk down the streets with one’s eyes glued to our smartphone was an already widespread and dangerous situation, but now it is becoming pathological.

Moreover, the Childline warns us about the little ones: “In the virtual world, unfortunately, age differences are canceled. And this is likely to be a major source of danger for children, who find themselves alone and defenseless, exposed to malicious intentions,” commented Ernesto Gruner, president of the Childline and Professor of child neuropsychiatry.

“It is in similar environments – he adds – that the phenomenon of online alluring and pedophilia are most widespread. On the one hand, it is necessary that children and teens develop greater accountability in the use of these tools. In this regard, the helpline has been promoting for years activities of prevention, education in schools, listening, and intervention, with the aim to promote a safer use of the web. On the other hand, the companies that produce these new technologies have to play a key role in ensuring that the instruments they promote cannot jeopardize minors.”

Another issue that has been widely discussed in the last few hours on the Internet are the places where Pokemons and “Pokestops” appear, places where to pick up items that help to continue the game. One may wonder if places such as museums, cemeteries, subway stations and other service spaces, or places that have a highly symbolic value or are simply dangerous may be excluded from the “hunt”. In this regard, there are increasing signs that invite people not to play or to pay attention, but maybe we should globally rethink the values of our society and establish limits and boundaries that define interpersonal relationships. Before it is too late.

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