Where not to play Pokemon Go

When you first open Pokémon Go, you get a friendly reminder to be alert at all times and stay aware of your surroundings. That warning includes being aware of the people around you. Are you trying to catch a Mankey at your grandfather's funeral? You may find joy in catching a rare Pokémon during such a solemn occasion, but there are others in the room that you should consider, as well.

The uncomfortable truth

We've all heard about how officials at the Holocaust Museum in Washington and the Auschwitz Memorial in Poland are asking people to stop playing Pokémon Go (opens in new tab) while in those hallowed buildings. We've all seen the picture of the grieving family saying good-bye to a loved one with a Pidgey in the foreground.

There are times when we should be reflecting on life, acknowledging the past, and learning about humanity. As humorous as you may think it is to catch a Ghastly at a wake, there may be a dozen people whose hearts are breaking at your flippant behavior.

Pokémon Go is simply magnifying what we are already doing wrong in social situations.

Pokémon Go is fun; it may even be addictive. But do you want to be that person that Aunt Sally remembers 20 years from now as the one that wouldn't put down that video game while she was burying her beloved husband?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you shouldn't visit your local cemetery for a Pokémon adventure. My city has a beautiful cemetery that is hundreds of years old and is rich in history. I visit it a few times per year just because it's so interesting; I also went on a Poké Walk there the other day. In between looting PokéStops for potions and Poké Balls, I read the headstones of people that lived 100 years ago, and soaked in the beautiful architecture.

The point is obvious

That's kind of the point, too: When Niantic created Ingress four years ago, one of the goals the developers had was to get people outside walking and learning about points-of-interest around their town. Pokémon Go has the same goal. You're supposed to actually stop and look at the real-world statues and murals that are designated as PokéStops and Gyms.

What I didn't do during my cemetery Poké Walk was interrupt anyone else in the area who might have been visiting a passed loved one. Even if there was a rare Pokémon nearby, I avoided the area out of respect. There are times when we should think about the feelings of those around us and put down the game if there is even a possibility that it might upset someone.

Don't be the person trying to catch a Mankey at your grandfather's funeral.

The decision to play Pokémon Go at inappropriate places and times is representative of the larger problem in this age of mobile devices. We've all behaved improperly at some point with our phones, whether we're responding to a text while driving or checking Facebook while at the dinner table. We have become accustomed to this type of conduct and justify doing it because everyone else does.

Pokémon Go is simply magnifying what we are already doing wrong in social situations. We've become so attached to our phones that we don't pay attention to what's going on around us. It's not just that we should stop catching Pokémon at memorials dedicated to thousands of people who lost their lives. It's that perhaps we should think about the way our actions affect other people, and focus on being present, with them, instead of staring at yet another screen.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

26 Comments
  • If you're over 14 you shouldn't play it anywhere. Videos of adults stampeding into a park to catch an imaginary little monster? Jesus...... Sent from the iMore App
  • Correct. Because you are the source and authority for all things fun and imaginative! If you do not approve - it shall not be! Please forgive me, master.
  • Let's be honest...grown men running around catching Pokemon at the park is a little pathetic. If it's an activity you engage in with your kids, cool. Otherwise...come on...
  • Why do you care? Let other people enjoy what they want to enjoy. As long as you aren't trespassing on my property to catch a pokemon, I don't care, or judge, what anyone else chooses to do with their free time.
  • I don't care about a lot of things that I have opinions on...
  • I don't think this is the right site for you
  • Because I don't like Pokemon Go? Makes sense.
  • Because you're a troll. All you do is look for Pokemon Go articles so that you can shitpost on them
  • Disagree with a few Pokemon articles and your panties get all wrinkled. Grow a pair. You're on a web forum. If you can't take people disagreeing or not liking all that's posted then it's in fact you who doesn't belong here.
  • Dude grow a set and get a life u been harassing people for Two weeks now man ur beyond pathetic seriously. You fit in with the many forms of losers that walk this earth. There are several I've meant so many people even people my dads age who would take offense and glady teach u respect. So pathetic I'm done with you on these topics and pray that someone treats u way u been for TWO WEEKS NOW. Get a life a job maybe family or friend or freaking a. I respect opinions but U have no room call anyone pathetic " mr watches Imore for new Pokemon articles to bash on people"
  • Are your feelings hurt?
  • No I call it as I see iT. I howeve have a life. I don't have as much time as you do apparently sit on website and be a whiny little pathetic retard like you do. You have sat on here since Release date and done nothing but b**ch and try make fun of people. Why you still have account on here is amazing. This website doesn't believe in banning drama queens like you I guess. I have things do people see so this response will have be enough. Considering your level of pathetic mental case I'm sure you will have some " witty Clever" thing say. I'll just check back in week since you'll still be here. Pathetic loser
  • You're too emotional right now. Stop typing stories.
  • I somewhat agree. I think that if you play it in moderation as an adult, that should be fine. But if that's the only thing you are doing these days then that's a big problem. Unfortunately, I see the latter being true. Posted with the Nexus 6, Nexus 5, or Surface Pro 3
  • I'll agree with that.
  • Oh for **** sake, let people enjoy things. Jesus ...
  • I never said don't play it or enjoy it. I simply stated there is a balance for everything in life, and this definitely applies. Posted with the Nexus 6, Nexus 5, or Surface Pro 3
  • If you're under 14 you should grow up.
  • I am 100% for anyone playing this game the way it's supposed to be played. Go for a walk, run, bike ride; hatch your eggs, get whatever experience you are supposed to get (I don't play the game, so I don't know all the terms). However, PLEASE be aware of your surroundings, and teach your kids! We went for a bike ride this past weekend, and went through 2 parks on the ride. There were A LOT of people playing the game, and I loved seeing parents, kids, and friends interacting. However, if I shout well enough ahead of time "On your left", please move to the right so I don't collide with you.
  • The number one place to avoid playing Pokémon Go is behind the wheel. Pokémon Go automobile war drivers are dangerous and annoying. Their slow speed and drunkard-like distracted driving is not only an impediment to other cars on the road, they are also absolutely oblivious to pedestrians and oncoming traffic at intersections and stop signs. They have become a hazard and a nuisance in the neighborhoods around me, especially to children. I would hate to think that any website or blog would actually encourage this dangerous behavior. I cannot wait for this fad to end.
  • Apparently, there is one somewhere on my street...watch out for cars Sent from the iMore App
  • I can't believe world and journalism has came to this level. What next we have to tell people to not to eat their phones ?
  • "If you're over 14 you shouldn't play it". Any person younger than 19 werent even born when the the first Pokemon ie, the games with these Pokemon in, was released. It appeals to all ages. People that try to convince themselves they're too old for it are hilarious. Sent from the iMore App
  • Bosnia, apparently, has Pokemon Go, and 3% of the country is covered in land mines.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36841828
    Sent from the iMore App
  • No kidding, I remember animals setting off the land mines all the time.. was fun to watch at night.
  • Don't be like this guy: http://www.wsj.com/video/driver-playing-pokemon-go-crashes-into-police/9...