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Health Experts Praise Pokémon Go but some Warn of its Dangers | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Pokemon Go is displayed on a cell phone in Los Angeles on Friday, July 8, 2016. AP

London, New York, Sydney-Psychology and fitness experts have said that Pokémon Go, the app that has captured the fascination of millions since its launch last week, is good for health.

“I think it’s an exciting development,” J Graham Thomas, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Miriam Hospital’s Weight Control Research Center, told Daily Mail Online.

“For a long time, the technology and gaming industries have been associated with a decrease in physical activity and that has resulted in a lot of health problems.

“To see technology and gaming changing in a way that promotes physical activity and being around other people is really good.”

Dr. John Grohol, founder and head of mental health network Psych Central, branded it revolutionary.

“I’ve ever seen anything like that,” Grohol said in a blog post.

“Research has long shown the benefits of simple exercise on improving mood.

“The developers behind Pokémon Go didn’t mean to create a mental health gaming app. But they’ve done so, and the effects seem to be largely positive.”

In the United States, the app had unexpected results. It helped police improve relations with society following the latest tension linked to the Dallas shootings.

It has also helped catch several suspects.

One of such examples was when the reality-game-meets-exercise app was instrumental in aiding two Marines to help local police officers catch an attempted murder suspect.

Seth Ortega and his roommate were playing Pokémon Go close to Fullerton Park in California when they noticed a suspicious looking man approach a mom and her three kids.

In Sydney, Pokémon Go players claimed they have been moved on by police and threatened with fines, after a large crowd flocked to a park in Rhodes.

Peg Paterson Park has attracted players in great numbers, with three Pokéstops intersecting at the location.
There were also reports of residents waterbombing Pokemon Go players and there have been complaints about rubbish being left behind.

Canada Bay deputy mayor Helen McCaffrey told the Sydney Morning Herald that the council had rostered extra rangers and undertaken extra waste collection to deal with the influx of players at Rhodes.

“The new game provides a wonderful opportunity for people to enjoy the parks, foreshore and other open areas around the City of Canada Bay in a fun, interactive way but we ask people to do this in a safe, considerate manner,” she said.

“Our first concern is for people’s safety, staying alert to their local surroundings: look where they are walking, check for traffic before crossing roads and practice pedestrian safety.

“When playing Pokémon Go, we ask that people do this with consideration to where they are: in residential areas, keep noise levels to a minimum and bin any rubbish.”

NSW Police have been running a social media campaign warning of the impact the game could have, and said it was a message of safety.