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Monday, July 25, 2016, 23:05

Fears raised about impact of 'Pokémon Go' on HK

By Li Yinze

HONG KONG — The envy of the governments across the world in terms of security, Hong Kong may not necessarily be able to fully protect its residents from the consequences of Pokémon Go .

The location-based augmented reality mobile game that is sweeping the world is officially available in Hong Kong from Monday. But many people are concerned that some Hong Kong residents – including children – may become obsessed with playing the game.

Associate Dean of the Social Sciences Faculty at the University of Hong Kong John Bacon-Shone remarked that people can easily get into many residential buildings in the city – even without security cards. This is potentially increasing the risks to players and building residents.

Therefore, private buildings, military facilities and other dangerous places should be designated by authorities as no-go areas and game developers should be cautioned about placing designated “pokéstops” in restricted areas.

Believing the game craze will continue for a while, Bacon-Shone said time and place restrictions by parents can prevent children from wandering into dangerous places.

“Parents should be very careful and limit their kids' game usage as it is summer vocation at the moment,” he warned. Bacon-Shone admitted that it is a real challenge for working parents to know exactly where their children are during the vacation.

In other areas, parents already have been warned not to allow their children to go wandering about on their own, unaccompanied, to play the game.

Wendy Chen’s 5-year-old boy apparently won’t be playing the game. “There’s no way my kid would play Pokémon Go . Neither would I.” said Chen.

She agreed Pokémon Go has presented a new approach to challenge the existing conventional game model. “However, augmented reality is not reality after all,” she added.

“I will prevent him from excessively using smart technology in future,” she decided, “I should develop his interest in the real world instead of giving him my mobile devices.”

Most of students in high school and even primary schools are equipped with smart phones now, Bacon-Shone revealed, school teachers must attach importance to students’ behavior, ensuring they can play safely on campus after the vocation. The game is likely to gain popularity among youngsters anyway.

yinzeli@chinadailyhk.com

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