Gotta catch ‘em all!
Sex offenders, that is.
With the surging popularity of Pokémon Go, which allows users to “catch” digital critters superimposed on the real world with the help of GPS, it seemed like only a matter of time until policymakers sought new laws to counteract safety issues the game creates. There have already been reports of players being robbed or falling off cliffs as their attention wavered.
Now one of the California Legislature's most avid players wants to ensure sex offenders don't use the game to lure victims. Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, will amend her Assembly Bill 2682 so it would ban registered sex offenders from using the app with the intent of preying on kids, like by trying to lure minors to a specific location “for the purposes of meeting.” They’d need to respect buffers preventing them from getting within a certain distance of kids.
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Followers of Chang's social media know she's an aspiring Pokémaster. She regularly posts updates about snaring the creatures on while she's flying back to Sacramento or sitting on the Assembly floor. But she said games that rely on geolocation pose a threat to kids.
“I am Pokémon GO’s biggest fan – that’s no secret,” Chang said in a statement. “But as someone who uses the game, you can see how easy it is for criminals and predators to attract people to certain locations – and many of those players are minors.”