New York governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill making it illegal for sex offenders to play Pokémon Go. Because they might somehow use it to molest kids. Somehow. In some way. But…how exactly?
Does it even need to be…no, I need to stop asking that question. Yes, it apparently does need to be said that this is a very, very stupid idea. From what I can tell, this sounds like it’s only targeted at sex offenders who are still on probation, but it’s still stupid.
First, by far the vast majority sex offenses against children are visited upon them by friends or family. This does nothing to deal with that.
Second, this is a waste of time and money that I’m sure could be better spent elsewhere.
Third, couldn’t any sex offender simply create a completely different email address from any that the police might have on record and use that to play the game? I have a friend who isn’t on any lists, but he maintains two different game accounts.
Lastly, tell me exactly how this is supposed to work for a sex offender, please. So, what, Herbert from Family Guy goes out to play Pokémon Go, sees some kids doing the same, and…what? What happens here that couldn’t happen if those kids were skating, walking, riding on the bus, or just hanging out in a park? Why is this game different?
One possible problem I’ll admit could come up is that the Pokémon are distributed randomly, so you could easily have a sex offender’s home that features tons of rares right outside. Or a gym across the street. Or similar. But this law does nothing to address that; it’d have to be handled by the game’s publisher. They’re based in California. I’m pretty sure they can just ignore any requests based in New York.
Bottom line: this is pandering to the worst, most baseless fears in our society, does nothing to alleviate those fears, and fails to address any real problems.
So well done, Cuomo, well done.