While I was running on the beach I noticed some unusual activity buzzing around me. Yes, I was seeing first hand this new Pokemon Go craze.
Seeing people play it while I was running, which is when my mind tends to get inquisitive about life, raised some deep questions. My thoughts on it are not to bash Pokemon Go, but to question it in regards to health and wellness.
Pokemon Go is just a dramatic example of a trend that has becoming increasingly common. The trend of needing technology to get us out and moving. Creating movements that our bodies are designed to make shouldn’t naturally need technology to get moving, but for years it has become an epidemic and I have to wonder how truly sustainable is it really?
While technology games such as Pokemon Go, running and workout apps, video games such as Nintendo Wii, even back to that old Nintendo game with the running pad or Dance, Dance Revolution are all on the rise so is obesity, so obviously this tend isn’t working any kind of mass magic.
In order to prevent chronic disease we have to develop habits that are lifelong, so I have to wonder if playing Pokemon Go (or any other virtual reality game that gets people moving) is truly a long-term thing or just a fad?
My personal feelings are that we need to support and spend money on things that are truly sustainable that educate, support empathy, support spirituality and most importantly support human interaction.
Is all this technology just another addiction? Another distraction getting in the way of the real, deep down issues?
Someone was telling me the other day that their teenager was playing Pokemon Go in the park and came across someone else playing it and they began talking and found common ground. While that is awesome, I still have to wonder if that’s sustainable social behavior. Is it a behavior that will be taken and learned from and brought into other areas of life or does it push forward the trend of communicating via short text messages.
I’m sure there’s stories such as that which are positive. I even saw a story about dog shelters using Pokemon Go to encourage people to walk the abandoned dogs. For every positive story though I have to wonder how many negative stories go along with that. How many people are just sinking further and further into a technology addiction? I feel disheartened that it takes a game to encourage young people to walk dogs, go to the beach, get outside.
I challenge all of you to take a moment and reflect. Reflect on how much time you spend on your cell phone, how much time you spend looking down at a screen as opposed to up at the sky or out at the ocean. I know they are necessary in today's life, but just take an extra moment and be mindful of your time on this earth, your individual health and wellness and the role technology plays in the whole scheme of it all.