The Psychological Benefits And Drawbacks Of Playing Pokemon Go
The new game Pokemon Go is taking the game world by storm. Its popularity has already surpassed that of dating apps like Tinder and Happen and is said to chase the popularity of Candy Crush saga soon. It is free so you do not have to count the jingle in your pockets if you wish to play the game. But you can also use your money to buy additional game items to add some extra cheese to your gaming experience. Developed by Niantic, this game is an extension of the Pokemon franchise, made available for iOS and Android users worldwide by The Pokemon Company in July 2016. Within a short span of time, this game has reached out to millions of people all around the world, who have been getting out of their homes to chase and capture virtual creatures in a real environment.
The game uses augmented reality technology which is slightly different from virtual reality in that it does not take you to another space but keeps you well on the ground where you will find your Pokemon. The augmented reality technology is not new in the app world as it has been previously used by Ingress and Life is Crime, two more games that blend real atmosphere with virtual objects. Scientists are presently studying the technology to see how it benefits the human mind and according to some, it helps people to get rid of anxiety disorders or plain depression. For example, Pokemon Go has been proved to show signs of reducing social anxiety or depression and also helped people with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms. In this post, we are going to discuss the psychological benefits and some of the drawbacks of Pokemon Go in details.
The psychological benefits of playing Pokemon Go
The game basically involves you and certain virtual creatures called Pokemons who appear in your neighborhood inside the game and you have to capture them, train them and battle them in order to gain points. The game uses your GPS and camera to help you find Pokemon in places where you have been thousands of times but never actually paid any heed to the details. Some of the psychological benefits of playing the game has been discussed in the following points:
The fun game actually brings you out of the house and into your neighborhood
You may feel fatigued to take a brisk walk around the park in your neighborhood without any definite reason. But when you are chasing Pokemons, you may find that walk quite interesting. Pokemon Go helps you to come out of your houses and enjoy the surroundings which leads to a better mindset to get rid of depression and related problems. Furthermore, you may come across places that you have never noticed before or have passed by without giving any attention to details like an old sculpture or a historical place or just some peculiar hedges beside the lake. Now, you will be able to notice these places as you may find your Pokemons there. Sounds interesting, right?
The game defines its goals clearly and has a well established structure
Lack of structure and motive in life can cause depression. Although its a game, Pokemon Go can help you to get your goals right. It has a clear structure, definite goals and ready rewards to help you up and running to capture Pokemons. You will get rid of your depression soon enough as you find those little cartoons popping up in places that you have been so many times. Moreover, if you are a 90s kid, you will find the adventure worth it as it will take you to your childhood days of watching Pokemon cartoon on TV.
The game can help you get rid of social anxiety or fear of starting a conversation
Social anxiety is the cause of many problems in our day to day lives. But Pokemon Go can help you get rid of all that and more. When you find another person playing the same game, it is easy for you to start a conversation in a subway or anywhere else in your neighborhood. If you are socially withdrawn, the game can help you to open up to people you have never met before. By talking to them you will feel a lot more relaxed and less depressed. It is always easy to interact with people sharing a common interest and nothing can be more common than Pokemon Go here as the app is already drawing a lot of attention among folks like you.
The game helps you to exercise
According to most doctors, walking is the best form of exercise and Pokemon Go helps you to get out of your houses and take a walk across the neighborhood. Although you will be engaged in something like chasing virtual cartoons, but you have to walk around to catch them, sometimes in places that you have been so many times in your lives. Without a definite goal, such walks can be terribly boring but now that you have the game, you will find those brisk walks rather interesting helping you to exercise a bit.
Now, everything has both a good side as well as a bad side to it and Pokemon Go is not an exception. Already, there have been reports of injuries caused by the game as people run around in the neighborhoods with mobile phones in their hands, trying to catch virtual creatures paying no heed to what is around them in reality. Some other drawbacks of the game have been discussed in the following points:
- When children play the game, they are so engrossed in it that they fail to realize what is around them and in places like busy streets. This can cause serious accidents. Hence, you should be a little more careful while playing the game. Do not get so much involved in catching cartoons that you fail to see a car coming towards you.
- Pokemon Go distracts you and you do not care about the people around you. At some point of time it can cause irritation on the part of your fellow mates who are there to spend some quality time with you but you are busy catching cartoons.
- The game can increase your stress levels as you are always in an anxiety mode trying to catch Pokemons around you. That is why doctors recommend you to play the game for not more than one or two hours a day and also to give quality breaks in between.
Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game which blends the virtual world with the real environment. That is why it can be harmful for people with symptoms of not being able to distinguish between fantasy and real. If you are among them, you should have a talk with your doctors before downloading the game.
All in all, Pokemon Go is a good pastime for people who have nothing to do at present. You can move around in places trying to capture Pokemons and when you actually find them, you are happy! Being happy is the best thing that can ever happen to depressed people. So if you are morally depressed with something, go and have a brisk walk in your garden catching Pokemons. And if you wish to know more about the game, feel free to tell us your queries. We will be glad to clarify them. Happy hunting!