Pokemon Go and Park Areas for Children Only

Pokemon Go and Park Areas for Children Only

By Timothy A. Wiseman

Pokemon Go is a wildly popular augmented reality game. People travel through the real world to reach locations that are significant in the game such as Pokestops or gyms while searching for virtual creatures called Pokemon. Once they locate a Pokemon, they can catch it to add it to their collection. It is a phenomenon, and my eight year old daughter and wife are almost obsessed with the game.

The game has been credited with bringing people together.  It has also been credited with encouraging walking, for which my wife and daughter provide excellent anecdotal evidence. There have even been suggestions that it can help certain people improve mental health.

But it can also lead people into unpleasant situations, such as minefields. Even in areas where minefields are rare, there has already been a case of someone being robbed at a pokestop. Another player found a dead body. Other players have been finding significant items in game in culturally sensitive areas.

Naturally, an augmented reality game can readily lead people to inadvertently trespass on private land.  But it can also lead to places where it is less obviously illegal for a person to go.  For instance, certain parks or areas within a park are designated by city laws as being only for children and their immediate caretakers.

For example, the North Las Vegas Code of Ordinances 12.16.060 reads “No male person over the age of eight years shall occupy any bench or seat, or stay, loiter or remain in any pavilion, or other structure in any park which shall be reserved and designated for the use of parents and children only.” Some of these areas are designated by signs in parks such as the Craig Ranch Regional Park.  Some of these designated areas may contain a Pokestop.

Las Vegas has similar designations for areas including Heritage Park, Fitzgerald Tot Lot, and Ethel Pearson Park.  Its law is in the Las Vegas Code of Ordinances at 13.36.070. 

It reads as follows:

13.36.070 – Restrictions—Children’s parks/play areas.

No person other than a parent or guardian, babysitter, caretaker or other designee of a parent or guardian having sole or joint supervisory responsibility over a child shall visit, frequent, or be present in either of the following unless accompanying that child:

(A) Any park which has been designated by the City Council as a children’s park pursuant to LVMC 13.36.150; or

(B) Any area within a park or recreational facility which has been designated and posted as a children’s play area.

My daughter incessantly tells me how much fun Pokemon Go can be. But it is a game best enjoyed while paying attention to the surroundings and respecting all relevant laws.

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