Shauni James is a Rotorua Daily Post reporter

Pokemon craze prompts warnings

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APP CRAZE: Rotorua's Johnson Kingi said he liked that there was a lot of walking involved with the Pokemon Go app. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
APP CRAZE: Rotorua's Johnson Kingi said he liked that there was a lot of walking involved with the Pokemon Go app. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

The Pokemon Go app has been getting locals out and about, though it appears there are both positive and negative effects to weigh up.

It is a popular new mobile game, which encourages players to find virtual Pokemon hiding in the real world and capture them using their mobile phone.

This week it's been hard to miss players on the streets of Rotorua.

Rotorua's Johnson Kingi said he liked that there was a lot of walking involved with the Pokemon Go app and that it was good exercise.

"I know people that are walking around early in the morning playing it."

Trevor Andrews said heand his daughter got up early today to play.

Mr Andrews said the more people walked the more chance they had to hatch their 'Poke Eggs'.

"It's been quality time together."

Rotorua exercise and nutrition specialist Susan Birch said although encouraging people to exercise was important, she had heard of concerns around privacy and access to personal information issues with the app.

There were other ways technology could help with fitness, she said.

"There's a lot of apps out there you can use to get your 10,000 steps a day in."

Ms Birch said there were however negative consequences of using technology too often which had to be weighed up.

These included negative effects on stress levels and sleep, "and we are a very sleep deprived society", Ms Birch said.

Rotorua police prevention manager Inspector Stu Nightingale said the Pokemon Go app could be a real distraction for people when in cars.

Mr Nightingale said people playing the game should not check their phones while driving, which was an offence, and should pull over first.

He said Rotorua police on patrol at night had noticed people getting out of their cars and going off to various places in the dark.

Mr Nightingale said people playing the app needed to be more aware of their environment, use their common sense and think about safety.

"We just wouldn't want to see any of our people get hurt while playing the game."

Electricity distributor Unison Networks has also warned Pokemon Go players to stay away from power lines, boxes, substations and electrical worksites.

Unison relationship manager Danny Gough said high voltage areas where there were power lines, power boxes, substations and electrical worksites were no place for games.

"Unfortunately we can't control where the Pokemon pop up, so we need players to make sure they catch their Pokemon from a safe distance.

"Never attempt to climb on power lines or power boxes, or enter substations and electrical worksites, because we all know electricity can kill."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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