Are you addicted to Pokemon GO?

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

That little yellow Pokemon is taking over everyone’s phones! They’re popping up all over. People are glued to their phones, they’re trying they’re racing into the real world to find his location and catch him. They’re running into busy streets and hopping over fences to catch him. 

Pokemon GO is a fun, but it’s already showed that people are using it irresponsibly.   

Initially, it might have been a way to break up a monotonous day or to get out and enjoy the nice summer days. But before you know it, you have people crossing private properties, jumping over dangerous cliffs, and having their time sucked because they have to find the next Pokemon. Some cities are issuing warnings on signs saying “No Pokemon & Driving” and “Practice Safe Gaming” with alerts to stay away from electric lines and substations while trying to find their virtual characters.  Regrettably, some people are becoming careless with their game playing. Earlier this month, two men that were playing the game in California fell off a cliff that was estimated to be 50 to 90 feet while they were sucked into the game. They sustained injuries. (1)  

And unfortunately, some people are taking the game to a new level and are getting violent. A teen was recently shot and killed while playing the game and circumstances surrounding the death are unclear so far. Some say that he was killed in an ambush and some say he broke into a home to get his virtual character and was shot there. (2) Another young man was playing the game and encountered another man in the same area that was possibly playing the same game. He asked if the other person was playing Pokemon Go, but instead, the man charged at him and stabbed him with a knife, perhaps to beat him in the game. The young man had to get eight stitches in his shoulder. (3)   

Why is the game so addictive? 

It’s a hunt, it’s a chase, and it’s simple to play. It does not take very much time to grasp the concept and start chasing the characters around. All you need is your phone, GPS, and the app, and you can go. It does not take much brain effort and it can give the brain the satisfaction of “checking off” the captures of each Pokemon. It’s an instant gratification or a rush and as soon as you find one, you get to continue on and find the other. The more you capture, the more you want to continue to capture, and so the cycle and the challenge of “the chase” continues. 

If the new Pokemon GO craze is starting to interrupt your life, your social interactions, or your work, of it you’re noticing that certain parts of your personality are starting to change as a result of game overuse, you should take a step back and figure out what is going on. It’s easy to become addicted to games like this and over time if it’s overused and abused, it can change you how you effectively live or interact in the real world. If you or someone you know is struggling with technology, gaming, pornography, or technology addiction, seek help immediately. Find out more at


  1. Delzo, Janissa. “Men fall from cliff playing Pokemon Go.” CNN. July 16, 2016. Accessed online July 26, 2016.
  2. Steinbuch, Yaron. “Pokemon Player Shot To Death.” New York Post. July 201, 2016. Accessed July 26, 2016.
  3. Sugianto, Mega. “Forest Grove man stabbed while playing Pokemon Go: I basicallyrisked my life’.” July 11, 2016. Accessed online July 26, 2016.