[Answered] Augmented Reality games raise a serious concern for children’s safety in both real and virtual world. Critically examine.

Some of the games like Pokemon Go, and other advanced AR devices like  Google Glass and HoloLens are present in the market today.

All AR devices whether it is a game or device, distracts people from their surroundings, leading to potentially severe consequences.

While talking about Augmented Reality games, Pokemon Go is one of the best example.

Several countries have issued advisories regarding the game and some have even raised ‘national security’ concerns.

Some examples of safety concerns

A Pokémon Go player was robbed at knife point in New Hampshire, a player got stuck in a tree in a cemetery in New Jersey, a teenager was led to a dead body in a river in Wyoming, and in Baltimore a man drove into a police car while chasing Pokémons.

Safety concerns Linked to children

  • Real-world gameplay has been linked to armed robberies as criminals have used the game to locate and lure intended targets and children are most vulnerable in that scenario.
  • Since these games encourage players to go to areas which may not belong to them. Trespassers whether the children or a mature person face a real threat of physical harm from property owners who may use force to protect their property.
  • The game requires users’ full attention immediately. Children playing games on the roads can meet an accident due to speedy cars or any other cause.
  • Since the game, developed by Niantic, uses Google Maps and has access to IP addresses of the users, it can be used to trace locations, in which case children are the most vulnerable and will be unable to respond to any criminal activities.
  • When a player downloads Pokémon Go, the app gets “full access” to the person’s phone. Children playing games on their parents cellphones could give up personal data in the phones.
  • A number of doctors and psychologists feel that these games adds to the stress levels of the player and children tend to get more stressed due to their immature emotional level.
  • These games can affect a growing child’s ability to distinguish between real and virtual objects.
  • Addicted children will spend most of their time playing these games, compromising their studies and other physical activities.

Way ahead

Accidents and mishaps can be avoided by being more alert and avoiding seedy locations.

The only way to resolve this from the developer’s side would be to maintain a global, up-to-date information bank on what areas are off limits, and alter the gaming experience accordingly. The sheer scale of this task makes it very difficult to accomplish by today’s standards

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