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Pokemon: Go have fun, but be cautious

Pokemon: Go have fun, but be cautious

New phenomenon is fun, but it also has serious aspects that must be considered

On the social media sites, there are various incarnations of a meme depicting a squinting Clint Eastwood (either as Dirty Harry or the Man With No Name) warning men that if they're playing Pokemon Go, someone is going to "revoke your man card."

While the new game might not make everyone's day, the nation's greatest summer phenomenon since 2014's Ice Bucket Challenge is something to be embraced, not derided.

For those without 10-year-olds in the house or who don't consider an i-Phone a fifth appendage, the game involves using your phone's GPS location data to track down characters from the 1990s Pokemon card game, and then capturing them using their camera.

Players are required to visit numerous places to capture the images, which is why you see more people than usual running around staring at their phones.

For most people, it's fun, harmless entertainment. And it's nice to see kids inadvertently getting exercise chasing Pokemon characters around the neighborhood instead of parked on a couch.

There are some basic rules to follow when playing the game.

Don't do it at work. (Companies are already banning it during working hours).

Don't do it while you drive. (There have already been several crashes.)

Don't do it standing on the edge of a cliff. (Two people fell off an ocean bluff in California on Friday.)

And don't do it in inappropriate places. (People have already been chastised for tracking down Jigglypuffs at Nazi concentration camps. No kidding.)

But with controlled fun also come some significant pitfalls to the game, particularly when it comes to security of the electronic devices you use to play on.

Technical experts say that like most apps, the owner of the game is collecting personal data on you.

There's a disclaimer before you sign up for the app that you really should read this time.

They say creator Nintendo can not only collect the usual stuff like IP addresses, email addresses, user names and other information, it also can access your entire Google account, including tapping into your gmail.

Because people visit various locations playing it, the game is better than most apps at tracking your movements, which significantly threatens your privacy.

And because kids and other unsuspecting people play, it's a potential gold mine for hackers.

Heed these warnings before joining the fun.

What the game most represents, however, is a look into the future.

Pokemon Go only scratches the surface of the potential for real and virtual interaction, what they’re calling “augmented reality.”

While you're chasing Pikachus, the next generation of technology jobs and public interaction is running ahead of you.

So take precautions. Have fun with the game. Don't worry about the fate of your "man card."

And enjoy being at the starting line of what lies ahead.

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