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Pokemon Go May Help People With Psychological Disorders

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KUALA LUMPUR – Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game that is gradually but
inevitably taking over the virtual world by storm may be of help to people
suffering from psychological disorders, according to a leading psychologist.

“It does confer a number of benefits for all sorts of psychological
conditions like anxiety and depression,” said Dr Edward Chan, principal
consultant psychologist at the International Psychology Centre, here.

For example, he said, the game could serve as a distraction for people
dealing with depression, from their negative thoughts and indirectly help them
to get up and venture outside of their cocoon.

He added that Pokemon Go could possibly help those facing serious problems
like phobias and social anxiety.

“It is a very good motivation for this group of people to get them back on
their feet.

“They will start to interact with fellow game go-ers out in the open instead
of being stuck at home while at the same time boosting one’s self-esteem and
social skills,” he told Bernama, here today.

Dr Chan, when asked to comment on Communications and Multimedia Minister
Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak’s statement that the government had no
objection for Pokemon Go to be released here, lauded the move.

“This shows that we are open-minded about new things; it also indicates that
the country is willing to embrace change while adapting technological
advancement and social change,” he said.

Recently, Salleh said Malaysia had neither objected nor restricted release
of the free mobile game application as some countries might. “..we in Malaysia
have not reached that stage,” the minister had said.

Pokemon Go, developed by Niantic Incorporation of Nintendo USA has set a new
wave of augmented reality game in the history of smartphone applications.

Nevertheless, Dr Chan who has 20 years of experience in the psychological
field, is cautious on the negative impact of the game, such as obsession that
might result in distractions over priorities.

“So far there is no evidence to suggest that Pokemon Go is necessarily a
negative thing; however if a person does get disrupted, neglecting their
relationships or studies then this may not be so good,” he opined.

Pokemon Go is a conventional ‘hide and seek’ game where players are required
to find and fight virtual characters based on real-world location detected via
smartphone.

The application was officially released on July 6 this year in Australia,
New Zealand and United States and has since reached over 30 countries worldwide.

No specific release date has been planned for Malaysia, but the hugely
popular mobile application game may be made available here for Android and iOS
users in September this year.

— BERNAMA

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