A neighbourhood youth running away to Mumbai to try his luck in Bollywood is a plot everybody is familiar with. A smartphone game has provided a twist to this story any scriptwriter worth his words would lap up.
A nine-year-old Howrah boy left home for Mumbai on Saturday night to capture more Pokemon characters, bringing to the fore how the craze around the game -which has not even been launched in India officially -has reached dangerous proportions.
The police rescued the Class III boy but experts say that the impact of the “madness” around the game will have far-reaching consequences.
From getting hurt by tripping and falling to trespassing in no-go areas, the repercussions to the addiction in India have already started showing.Abroad, the obsession with the game has led to mugging, abduction and robberies.
“The craze is irrespective of age groups; everyone is hooked. With people taking drastic steps to catch more Pokemon or locate yet another Pokestop, the craze is taking a dangerous turn,” said psychologist Kunal Roy.
If you see people -adults and kids -meandering around town these days, eyes glued to their phones, chances are very high they are not texting or reading emails but searching for Pokemon, the cute, cartoon critters that debuted in Japan in 1996 and won the hearts of school kids.
Parents are having a harrowing time too. “My son just gets up and leaves, all the while staring at his smart phone. I am scared of accidents happening on the road,” said Jyoti Pramanik of Girish Mukherjee Road, whose 11-year-old son is giving her sleepless nights.