(Reposted from the Labor & Employment Law Navigator Blog - Click Here to Subscribe)
The new age of the smartphone has resurrected the Pokémon craze from the 1990s in a completely new version of the once popular handheld Gameboy Nintendo game. With the help of the smartphone’s GPS, Pokémon Go requires individuals to physically enter the real world to chase Pokémon located on the phone’s map. The game randomly places the miniature monsters around the world, and the user must physically track them down.
Positives: This new interactive platform encourages kids to move around in an effort to find the little alien monsters. People are walking miles to track them down. Since its release on July 6, Pokémon Go has quickly grown to become the biggest mobile game in U.S. history, according to SurveyMonkey. Nintendo added over $7 billion to its market value in a single week.
The Not So Good: The Pokémon are everywhere. As a result, individuals are traveling everywhere to catch them, including on to private property, into hospitals, and even in Simba’s den. We used to think texting and driving was dangerous; now you should be aware of individuals hunting and driving. Additionally, please refrain from the hunt while you are on the clock. Employers may now be less concerned about Candy Crush distractions, and more concerned about team hunts in the office.
Employers have to be concerned about the safety of potential hunting visitors and trespassers. For example, individuals have been known to catch critters in electrical substations. Hopefully Pikachu and Electrike (two electric harnessing Pokémon) can be found elsewhere.
In an effort to catch ‘em all, employees on the hunt lose attentiveness to their surroundings, which can lead to injuries. An obvious employer concern is lost productivity. One other issue is that Pokémon Go has access to the phone’s GPS and camera, creating a more than theoretical risk of security breaches.