Pokemon Go’s Unexpected Benefits

Paige Richey, Photo Journalist

Even if you’re not a long time fan of pokemon, chances are you’ve heard of Pokemon Go. With over 100 million downloads since its release on July 6, 2016, this little mobile app has gained a lot of spotlight. People were understandably excited to go out and experience catching pokemon in real life. The app adds a whole new level of reality and fun to becoming a true pokemon trainer. Only, Pokemon Go isn’t just another generic video game. It’s actually helping to combat serious issues, like depression, and social anxiety etc.

Sometimes kids and teens not going outside isn’t due to “laziness” or anything like that. Having a mental condition that makes interacting with other people or the general environment difficult isn’t fun, and Pokemon Go provides a real incentive to try and overcome these feelings. By going outside and taking a walk to the nearest Pokemon Gym or Pokestop, not only can people enjoy the game, but they can also feel comfortable and even enjoy being outside. It’s not uncommon to pass by a few different people also playing the game while out. A lot of the time, an entire conversation can start up between two people that wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for Pokemon Go. Finding nice people with similar interests can be really hard for a lot of people who feel uncomfortable initiating contact with others, but Pokemon Go gives sense of community and makes it less awkward to talk to random people passing by.

As soon as the game was released lots of people on social media websites began talking about how Pokemon Go was helping them talk to others despite their social anxiety. Also, others talked about how Pokemon Go was not only getting them outside despite their depression, but they could honestly feel relaxed and happy while doing it. This may appear silly to some, but it’s a huge step in the right direction for a lot of other people.

This game is great because you can play it solo, or with someone else and it’s still just as fun. Getting together with a group of friends, or even just going out with a sibling to go hunt for Pokemon is great. Audrey Takanaga (10) loves this aspect of the game, and states[- “I get to spend time with my little sister outside, doing something that we both really enjoy.”  All and all Pokemon Go has really turned out to be something positive. It goes beyond what was expected and is fun and beneficial to play.