Culture

New York Officials Propose Legislation to Stop Sex Offenders From Playing Pokémon Go

(Chris Helgren/Reuters)

New York state officials have decided to randomly freak out that sex offenders might somehow use Pokémon Go to lure children into their homes — even going so far as to demand new laws to stop this imagined, hypothetical disaster from occurring.

Today, New York governor Andrew Cuomo proposed legislation that would ban convicted sex offenders from playing Pokémon Go, and on Friday, New York state senators Jeff Klein (D.) and Senator Diane Savino (D.) proposed legislation that asks the game’s creators to not allow any Pokémon within 100 feet of a registered sex offender’s residence, according to an article on Reason.com.

This is, of course, unnecessary overreach — and, as Reason’s Lenore Skenazy describes it, an attempt to make parents freak out over nothing in exchange for getting those parents to believe that these politicians like, really care about kids:

“[Cuomo] might as well have said, Parents, please go out of your minds with fear about an extremely remote danger we are exploiting to get your love and votes,” she writes.

After all, Skenazy explains, there is no actual evidence to back up the idea that the game puts kids at risk for molestation — but plenty of evidence to suggest that it likely would not.

For example: The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that more than 90 percent of crimes against kids are committed by someone whom the child already knows. A Journal of Law and Economics study found that sex-crime rates on Washington, D.C. blocks where sex offenders lived were no higher than on the blocks where they didn’t.

So, basically, freaking out that your kid is going to get molested for playing Pokémon Go doesn’t really do any good — but it could do a lot of harm. After all, the game encourages kids to actually get outside and run around and play, and that’s a good thing. What’s more, giving kids the freedom to learn things for themselves is a lot better than this increasingly popular helicopter-parenting trend of parents’ freaking out that letting their kids walk around the block is going to get them kidnapped and letting them eat a processed snack is going to give them immediate terminal cancer.

#related#It’s good, of course, to teach your kids to be safe. But to freak them out based on no evidence? Well, that’s just going to make them grow up to be paranoid, incapable adults — and, as anyone can see from the current state of emotional affairs on our college campuses, the last thing we need are any more of those.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

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