Rabbi remains ‘positive’ after Pokémon Go makes Ilford’s Holocaust Memorial Garden a pokéstop
PUBLISHED: 18:13 15 July 2016 | UPDATED: 20:18 15 July 2016
A rabbi welcomed the use of a Holocaust memorial garden as a pokéstop, calling the smartphone game it is part of an “opportunity to engage”.
The comments come after people from all over Redbridge immersed themselves in the augmented reality game Pokémon Go following its UK release yesterday.
The game involves players catching pokémon – or “pocket monsters” – from geographical locations. Players can also congregate at meeting points such as pokéstops to progress in the game.
The Holocaust Memorial Garden at Valentines Park, Cranbrook Road, Ilford, is one of many well-known landmarks in the borough, which have now become pokéstops.
“It’s interesting,” said Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, of Chabad Lubavitch synagogue, Woodford Avenue, Gants Hill.
“On one hand it’s a bit disrespectful, but on the other hand people might actually learn about something that they didn’t know existed.
“It might make people stop and think why it’s there, it’s an opportunity to engage. I think it’s more a positive than a negative.”
However, children’s charity NSPCC warned parents about the dangers of youngsters going out to find pokémon, airing concerns about adults using it to prey on children.
A spokesman said: “Pokémon Go is setting a precedent as the most successful reality game app on the market. It’s very disappointing that child safety isn’t at its heart.”
However, gamers playing in Ilford town centre today praised Pokémon Go for getting people out of their homes to see new places, exercise and socialise.
“It’s a great way to get out of the house,” said Anjali Patel, 20, from Ilford.
Rob Bolt, 22, from Kent, who was playing during his lunch break, said: “It’s pretty cool – there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just a fun thing and there’s a lot of potential here.”
Arjun Sharma, 19, from Wimbledon, said it was the “future of getting healthy”, but Ayesha Akhtar, 21, from Uxbridge, said it had the potential to become “addictive”.
“You’re trying to get pokémon not interact with humans,” she added. “You could have a good virtual life but not a good life in reality – we’re becoming consumed by the virtual world.”
Other pokéstops around Ilford include Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford Hospital Chapel, Ilford Hill, and Vine United Reformed Church, Riches Road.
Shopping centre Exchange Ilford and Ilford station are pokémon gyms – where players use their pokémon battle other pokémon.
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