What you need to know about Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go has instantly become one of the most successful games to use GPS enabled augmented reality. Because Pokemon characters can be found anywhere in the real world, users are enticed to exercise and visit "Poke spots" and "Gyms" in public locat... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

USAG YONGSAN -- Since its release July 9, the smartphone game Pokemon Go has amassed more than 7 million downloads -- reporting more daily users than Twitter. The augmented reality game uses GPS real-time location and map data and smartphone cameras so players can search for Pokemon and Pocket Monsters to collect and fight. The phenomenal success of the game has already prompted the release of similar, reality games.

The Korean media recently reported sold out buses transporting players to the Korean east coast city of Sokcho -- the only place in Korea where the game has gone live. The mood at the Department of Defense is much less jubilant, with safety and OPSEC advisories released regularly because of the increasing popularity of the game.

"At this point we are not aware of any media queries or any incidents at any of our installations, and we'll continue to monitor the situation," said William Brander, command information manager for the Installation Management Command Public Affairs Office. In particular, safety officials are most concerned about distracted drivers and pedestrians, as well as criminals using the game to lure players into unsafe areas.

According to the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the game has been linked to several suspicious calls and attempted robberies. The USAFOSI has since put out several safety precautions gamers should take when in the world of Pokemon, including be vigilant against distracted walking and driving, use good judgment when interacting with strangers, set limits for their children who play the game and never wander into unknown buildings.

Even though the game is not available in Area II, U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan has begun to initiate a safety campaign in preparation for the game's arrival based on the experiences of other garrisons. USAG Fort Lee recently reported concerns involving unofficial photography near restricted garrison sites and players who look like they are loitering in unauthorized areas. At the same time, the garrison has embraced the game, even informing players of where on Fort Lee to locate Pokemon battles and items to collect.

The average of age of today's U.S. Army Soldier 28.6 years old according to a report published by the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. Today's Soldier is more internet-savvy, and online gaming is a popular pastime among this demographic. Such statistics notwithstanding, once might also say Pokemon Go is worth embracing simply for the numerous reported health benefits.

WebMD reported July 12, that the game encourages people to get out and exercise, giving those who may experience depression or anxiety a mental and physical boost. Pamela Rutledge, PhD, director of the nonprofit Media Psychology Research Center in Newport Beach, CA., says there's a lot to like about Pokemon Go. "Aside from social contact and activity--both known to increase positive mood, decrease anxiety and depression, and improve immune systems, people who go outside are exposed to sunlight and receive the benefits of Vitamin D."

The Korean media has likewise been filled with testimonies of how the game has increased the number of people's steps. With the popularity of pedometer apps and accessories like the Fitbit, counting steps has become a universal daily regimen. One Korean interviewed by Yonhap News July 17, said even she was amazed at how she ended up walking up to 15 kilometers per day to catch a Pokemon character. European media like the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. have also reported how game-induced exercise benefits physical and mental health.