Danielle Armour

The sudden and rapid rise of Pokémon Go has once again brought up the debate over what is and is not acceptable when it comes to when, where and how we use smart phones.

Pokémon Go is a location-based augmented reality mobile game that launched at the start of the month. Players are encouraged to walk around and capture virtual creatures, called Pokémon, which they can then train to battle against other users. The games uses smartphone’s GPS and camera capabilities to allow users to search for Pokémon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world.

However, questions are being raised over the inappropriate and sometimes dangerous use of smartphones in order to play the game. People have taken to social media admitting to playing the game while at funerals and at concerts. Last week, there was even a stampede like situation in the suburb of Rhodes, as hundreds of players descended on the same location in order to catch a rare Pokémon.

A month ago, before Pokémon Go was something that was even rumoured, it would not have been acceptable to be using your phone while at work, or to walk into someone because you were looking at your phone. It would not have been acceptable to walk into a stranger’s front garden for seemingly no reason.

However, all of these things seem to now be happening on a regular basis. Is playing Pokémon Go a good enough excuse to break numerous social expectations about when and where to use your phone?

Canada Bay Council seems to think it is not, with the Council making a formal submission to the creators of the game at Niantic Labs to remove Pokestops from the area in order to prevent incidents similar to the Rhodes stampede.

While we, in Australia, were one of the lucky firsts to be able to play Pokémon Go, it is only just beginning to be released to the rest of the world. With reports of dangerous and inappropriate behaviour by users on the increase, it is impossible to predict the ways in which our use of smartphones will change as this cultural phenomenon continues to grow.