Abandon All Hope For Humanity: Kids Are Illegally Sneaking Across The U.S. And Canadian Borders To Catch Pokémon

I vividly recall the olden days of yore when 19-year-olds would cross the border from the United States to Canada in order to legally purchase booze and occasionally illegally smuggle it back to the US (this naturally goes off record). While there is still fervent border crossing these days, now teens are illegally crossing the border to play Pokémon instead of smuggle alcohol.

Apparently, two Canadian teenagers were apprehended by U.S. Border Control agents Thursday after unknowingly wandering into the United States no doubt in pursuit of a Charmeleon or Arcanine lurking beyond the borderlines. Their border-crossing was equal parts illegal and unintentional as the two players were evidently so enraptured by the game they had no idea they were exiting Canada into a remote part of Montana.

“Both juveniles were so captivated by their Pokémon GO games that they lost track of where they were,” said U.S. Border Control spokesman Michael Rappold in a report on Reuters. The two unidentified yet dedicated Pokémasters were promptly returned to the Canadian border where their mothers reportedly met them at a nearby border patrol station, likely both relieved and confused by the fact that their children illegally crossed the border in the tamest way possible.

While it’s funny and endearing to speculate about the notable differences between crossing the border to score booze or drugs and crossing it because you and your buddy are genuinely entranced by the task of capturing a fleet of animated characters possessing different assigned powers and values, there has been legitimate concern expressed about the amount of extra-distracted people in public.

In the past three weeks since the official launch of the popular app there have already been a spate of distraction-related accidents, including a 21-year-old Japanese man driving through a red light into a line of cars while playing the game, as well as three separate robberies in Missouri where the four suspects targeted victims through the geo-location app. These instances are of course, only the tip of the iceberg.

While yes, there are potentially new dangers presented by the influx of distracted Pokémasters glued to their phones, the technology itself doesn’t provide much more danger than texting itself — or location-based dating apps. The benefits of Pokémon Go have already shown themselves, beyond the obvious positive aspects of players’ increased exercise and socializing with neighbors: The app has legitimately boosted the economy with players shelling out cash to find Pokémon everywhere from museums, restaurants, and even voting polls.

I do wonder: Will U.S. Border Control agents will soon find themselves dealing with enough distracted players lurking between Canada and the United States that they have to form a new Pokémon-related protocol? Only time will tell.