Prioritise health and safety – Pokemon goers reminded

 |Aug 9, 2016
Pokemon Go game is now available in all iOS and android smartphones. The game, which has dominated the Malaysian market, has become an addiction among youngsters and adults.
Pokemon Go game is now available in all iOS and android smartphones. The game, which has dominated the Malaysian market, has become an addiction among youngsters and adults.

The Health Ministry today cautioned Pokemon Go addicts not to be too focused on their phone screens and neglect their health.

Deputy Minister Dr. Hilmi Yahaya said youngsters and gamers should limit their hours of game play to reduce mental and physical health risks.

“Gamers should limit their hours spent on the game as they are limiting themselves from interacting with people and eventually will fail to socialise.

“Pokemon Go gamers isolate themselves from the real world, not aware of their surroundings and loves being individualistic.

“I don’t know how such game benefits but certainly it is not good as gamers are getting involved in accidents because they were too focused on their phone screens,” said the Balik Pulau MP today.

Dr.Hilmi said intense gamers may suffer from loss of sleep, severe eye strain, headaches, dry eyes, blurred or double vision, fatigue and watery eyes.

Pokemon Go, an application developed by Niantic Incorporation of Nintendo USA, has dominated the Malaysian minds and gamers of late.

The much hyped reality game was officially launched on July 6 and entered the Malaysian market and over 30 other countries on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) senior vice chairman Lee Lam Thye urged relevant authorities to conduct a study on the effects of Pokemon Go.

He said a comprehensive study on the popular game was needed for the society to find out further on its pros and cons.

“As much as this game promotes family bonding when families go out together to search for Pokemon Go monsters, the game has its negative aspects too.

“The game could also cause its players to get addicted and absorbed which leads to a person’s exposure to danger such as snatch theft or robbery,” he told reporters after launching a seminar on ‘Enhancing Integration and Professionalism’ at the Seberang Perai Polytechnic today.

Human Resource Minister Richard Riot said employees should not be addicted to Pokemon Go or play the game at workstation during working hours as it would affect the productivity of a company.

“Reduced productivity could result in losses, salary cuts and retrenchments,” he said.

Penang MCA Sscretary Dr Tan Chuan Hong meanwhile reminded Pokemon Go gamers to be more cautious over personal safety and road accidents.

“Actually Pokémon Go can encourage and promote a healthy lifestyle to Malaysians,” he said, taking a swipe at certain quarters which had called for a government ban on the game.

“Pokémon Go can encourage youngsters to have their outdoor activities.  It is a healthy game.”

Penang MCA secretary Dr Tan Chuan Hong reminded Pokemon Go gamers to be more cautious on road and personal safety.
Penang MCA secretary Dr Tan Chuan Hong reminded Pokemon Go gamers to be more cautious on road and personal safety.

He however, reminded players to take some safety measures as below –

  • Pay attention to personal safety while looking for Pokémon. it should be more than two people to play together to ensure their own safety.
  • Don’t be a phubber. Pay full attention to the roads around.
  • Don’t play while driving. Don’t try to do two things at one time. This can’t ensure our safety.
  • Do not break into a restricted zone, private property or dangerous places. Don’t take photographs in private areas.
  • Be aware that you might share your network data with others. Some people might take the opportunity to lure victims to some fake “Pokestops” which may lead to crime.
  • Teach your children be wary of strangers when arrived “Pokestops”.
  • Beware of invitations issued by strangers.
  • Don’t disclose your personal information. Beware of fake applications or plug-ins. Cyber criminals can commit fraud through your personal data, or invade your phone via virus or hacker software.
  • Download weather forecast app with alert messages.
  • Prevent heat stroke.
  • Prepare some spare batteries.
  • Prepare other communication device besides mobile phones.

Dr Tan also called on the authorities to prevent emergencies that may arise during the game craze by improving existing legislation and measures to adapt to the evolution of smart phone applications.

“Authorities should communicate more with the Pokémon Go company to make sure safety measures are in place when they design the game,” he said.

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Priya Pubalan has been a journalist for the past three years and counting. She believes in human equality, law and justice. She thinks capitalism should be abolished and mankind should give importance to education.