Sagar Galwankar, MBBS, DNB, FACEE (INDIA), MPH, Dip. ABEM (USA), FRCP (UK)
As I went to work I saw few of my colleagues discussing about this new app called PokeMon GO.
This is a Freely available Video Game played via a downloadable app.
This allows players to capture digital creatures at real locations synchronized with GPS. The GPS Activated locations are called POKESPOTS and the players can capture and gain points called XP.
There are various awards and rewards by playing this game.
This has a lot of implications.
There is massive Public Frenzy and craze and as I had guessed People are trespassing and many accidents and injuries are anticipated when driving walking as people continue to play and not pay attention.
A New Era of Public Safety Threat has emerged and reached a whole new level !
I recently read this article: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2016/07/14/death-by-pokemon-public-safety-fears-mount-as-pokemon-go-craze-continues.html
Were we not glued on enough to the Smart Phone on Social Media and video games ?
Were we not disconnected enough that Messaging became the New means of Communication ?
Were we not lonely enough that animated characters are the new friends ?
Technology can with advances but also came with Public Health Threats.
Smarts Phone created a new platform and era of STAT COMMUNICATIONS and UPTODATE INFORMATION.
That brought the Public Health Threat of Civil Safety as Social Media played an Open Access Platform with information about who is doing what and when.
It also brought to light the Road Safety issues where crashes happened while Texting.
It brought to light the violation of privacy of people in the world.
I believe that Mass Frenzy is a phenomenon which has often been the single most important factor to heightened ignorance and accidents.
Travel on Roads as a Driver/ Rider or Pedestrian, Walking at Home or at work and not focusing on what you do will cause a fall/crash and injuries are more severe than ever.
I have seen patients who have got insomnia as a result of sounds and rings of social media and their addiction to see the phone asap.....like a Pavlov Rat.
This Digital Plantation of Revolutions have brought a new age of humans who have isolated themselves to find solace in their single trusted friend.....their smart phone.
Video Games are the new friends introduced by this trusted friend.
There have been many news which have already started reporting injuries and accidents and I soon think we will have to ask for every car crash / and fall .....Were you playing on the SmartPhone ?
The answer may just be YES.
I think its time that Public Health Social Marketing Strategies highlight the urgency to design initiatives to break this addictive unsafe habits of SmartPhone Mania....so Public Health can be safer than before !
When people's mind is fixated on one thing then that is what drives their lives.
Texting, trespassing and all the crashes falls and accidents with the above apps proves that these are sane people who are conditioned to commit themselves to this public safety risk and hazards..... this is much bigger than just a Habit.... this is addiction and the single biggest Mental Health Challenge to Public Health.