KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Pokémon GO app has been out for less than a week and already it is taking people by storm. Dozens of people could been seen stopping by the Sunsphere and other landmarks to catch Pokémon.
While the app is praised for promoting physical activity, users are urged to use caution. One criticism is the app leads to distraction.
The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) issued a warning about driving while playing Pokémon GO. “Wait. Park. Then, Pokémon GO! Do NOT use mobile gaming apps while driving,” said THSO’s Facebook post. Knoxville Police Department urged users not to visit parks at night looking for Pokémon.
Pokémon GO uses a phone’s GPS and camera to allow players to search the real world for virtual Pokémon. Players try to collect as many Pokémon as possible.
The app has quickly become one of the most downloaded apps. It is expected to surpass Twitter in daily active user according to data from Similar-Web.
Knoxville Fire Department Captain D.J. Corcoran said he found out about the app through his 19-year-old son. “He was playing it and showing me how it worked,” said Corcoran. “Pretty soon I found out that when the virtual world meets the real world, there could be some dangers.”
Nikki Denton said Pokémon GO users are easy to spot out in a crowd. “They generally have their phone out like this and are looking up and down a lot. There’s usually a whole lot of them walking outside,” said Denton.
This poses a serious problem for people crossing the street, or worse, driving a car.
“My buddy almost hit me when he was driving his truck yesterday, which made me want to pick it up. He said ‘I was just looking for Pokemon,” said Jacob Holley.
Users are urged to not use the app on the road, be aware of surrounding, stay in public view and never be lured into remote places when catching a Pokemon.
Capt. Bob Wooldridge with Knoxville Police Department said not to go anywhere you wouldn’t go in the daytime and to play in groups. He also advised not to skateboard and play.
“Anytime you’re on anything that’s moving, or whatever, you have the ability to get hurt,” he said.