Putting a stop to Pokemon GO on campus

While it’s certainly getting people off the couch and into the community, the recent Pokemon GO craze is creating security concerns.

Pokemon GO is a mobile game that sends users out searching for animated Pokemon creatures based on GPS location. This has resulted in a few cases of people with no official business on campus (patient, family member, student or staff) going to unauthorized areas just to play the game.

To protect the privacy of our patients and to maintain a healing environment, security is asking colleagues to be watchful for potential gamers. If you see someone playing, you can ask them to leave or call Security at 402-559-5111.

Information Security has filed requests with the game’s designer to remove all “PokeStops” and “Gyms” on Nebraska Medicine and UNMC property including Bellevue and Village Pointe. If you become aware of a site that needs to be removed or for questions, contact Information Security.


  1. Sue Anson says:

    Pretty darned sad if you have to have a computer app/game to get you into the community.

  2. Scott Trickel says:

    Gosh Sue, it's almost like you're making a sweeping assumption about an extremely large group of people (30 million users as of 7.20.16) and their lifestyles. I would posit that out of a group that large, there are probably a multitude of people who have varying roles and level of activity in their community that would be both above and below your own contributions and involvement. Perhaps people you know, and possibly respect or appreciate also play the game and derive entertainment out of their engagement. Since we do exist in a hospital setting as well I could see some benefit to providing entertainment to the younger patients we care for here at UNMC. I hope you are not implying that sick children are also "pretty darned sad" for using an application meant for them to enjoy their time in a foreign environment like this are inactive members of the community otherwise. Sue, your words can hurt and better consideration in the future of the impact of what you say might be a responsible decision, but I'd hate to assume anything about your character and behavior.

  3. Lee Winchester says:

    I have been putting lures on the stops in the hospital for the poor kids who are stuck there for treatment. I thought it would be a nice thing to do.

  4. Elizabeth Fiala says:

    Most PokeStops are in the green spaces on campus, usually around the statues and art that UNMC has scattered about. I don't see how these are harmful, considering they are outside rather than inside buildings.

  5. Ayrianne Crawford says:

    I have seen this app start a lot of conversations between students from different programs, hospital staff and faculty, and even visitors in the cafeteria and other public areas around campus. I feel as though the community is already pretty established, and that even if UNMC gets the PokeStops removed, students and staff are still going to cast lures in the same places anyways (I mean no disrespect to UNMC's efforts, I just don't know how well administrators understand the excitement that comes over the face of a bored child stuck in the hospital when they catch their favorite pokemon, or how valuable it is to start a conversation that turns into a collaboration between research departments). UNO is even advertising their PokeStops on campus.

  6. Mike Gleason says:

    This unilateral decision made without consideration of staff, students, and guests on campus is unfortunate. Nearly all of the points of interest are publicly accessible, so why not just remove the handful that are in unauthorized locations? Shame on NM for discouraging people from getting off their butts and walking around _in public_.

  7. mike arington says:

    why not post all the people that have gotten hurt or otherwise from playing the game I seen some people were trespassing resulting in injury I seen a post saying someone got shot trespassing playing the game and another got hurt doing something on a mountain do they monitor these games seem like all the doing is testing security of properties??????.

  8. Maximilian Carter says:

    This is the worst decision I have read regarding Pokemon Go, and I don't even play the game that often.

    What "security concerns" have you listed that truly affect the privacy of patients? Have you considered that the game could be used for younger patients to distract themselves and make their hospital visit more pleasant?

    Instead of banning the game and making fools of yourselves, promote positive attitude towards the campus and encourage players to leave "lures" at the Pokestop, in order for the young ones to have something to do during their stay. Pokemon Go is a FREE blessing for places like UNMC, you'd be idiotic not to endorse its use.

  9. David Taylor says:

    I am not normally one to comment on UNMC Today posts, but I must say I find myself both surprised and somewhat alarmed at this development. How does this policy advance our stated mission to “lead the world in transforming lives to create a healthy future for all individuals and communities?” I do not believe that this policy represents the values and purpose of UNMC and Nebraska Medicine.

    We are an academic organization, so let’s look at the data. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (https://nccd.cdc.gov/NPAO_DTM/LocationSummary.aspx?statecode=96) roughly 30% of adult and 12% of adolescent Nebraskans are obese. Only half of the adults in Nebraska are getting 150 minutes or more of aerobic exercise per week. Fewer than a third of adolescents in Nebraska are physically active daily. According to Healthy People 2020 (https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/physical-activity), physical activity is reduces the risk of early death, coronary artery disease, strokes, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, falls, and depression. Furthermore, increasing physical activity is identified as crucial public health target. While the security office may not be aware of this, any of our organizations clinical staff can provide plenty of examples how obesity and inadequate physical activity are negatively affecting the health of our patients. Anecdotal evidence is exploding in social media and popular press about the significant benefits this game is having on the physical and mental health of its participants. Why then are we implementing a knee jerk reaction to this game instead of studying the effect it is having on the health of our patients, staff, students, and faculty?

    In the same time, according to the UNMC Safety Report (http://unmc.edu/aboutus/security/securitypolicies-and-procedures-and-firesafetyreport.pdf) there are slightly more than 100 criminal activities per year on campus. Why are we acting before we have any evidence of how the game will effect this number? Why are our policies and systems currently in place to protect secure locations from unauthorized entry of any kind so inefficient that we need to attack a game to remedy them? Why are we not taking steps to fix the real problem behind this laxity instead?

    One of our core values is innovation. There can be no denying that using augmented reality technology to increase physical activity is an innovative approach to address a very real public health concern. As another commenter mentioned, there are more than 30 million Americans who are participating in this game which requires physical activity and actively rewards players for the distance they walk?

    Another of our core values is teamwork. We have a number of programs intended to improve the physical activity of our employees and students including, but not limited to, TravelSmart to increase active transport and interventions from the Center for Healthy Living to increase work place activity. Did the decision makers of this policy show the minimal respect necessary to contact these elements of the organization about how the policy would affect their goals before implementing it? How many of the organization's stakeholders, community members, and neighbors were given actual decision making power in this process?

    A third core value is accountability which we define as “Commit. Take ownership. Be resilient, transparent, and honest.” Why is this policy being announced without any designated authorship? Who is taking accountability for this decision?

    Fortunately, another of our core values is courage. Hopefully, whoever responsible will have the courage to stand up and admit that they made a mistake.

  10. Joel Frandsen says:

    Currently accepting donations of Game Boys and Pokemon game cartridges for children admitted to Nebraska Medicine. The Reddit link contains all the pertinent information:


  11. Elizabeth Fiala says:

    If this were Facebook and I could like/love David Taylor's comment below, I would. I hope people are reading his comment and taking it into consideration.

  12. Jon Weinhold says:

    1. This is a knee jerk. In less than a month, the craze will die down anyway, so this was entirely useless. Especially considering I don't know how long it would even take to get the request filled.

    2. Way to embrace the community, UNMC! This is a great outreach program.

    3. 100% of the landmarks that will be removed by the game maker are OUTDOORS ALREADY, IN PLACES THE PUBLIC FREQUENTLY WALKS.

  13. Mura O'Neill-Rohe says:

    My husband is a 36 year old Med Center cancer patient. He has had 2 hospitalizations there and will almost certainly have more in the future. Anyone who has ever had a clinic appointment or stop in the lab will tell you that waiting is an omnipresent part of the experience. Why are you trying to ruin something that makes the waiting less stressful and maybe even a little fun? This ridiculous policy doesn't just affect staff and visitors, but patients as well.

  14. Vanessa says:

    I am sad to hear about this news. I've put lures on the pokestops for the children who are not able to get outside and play the game at UNMC. Almost daily I've placed one on the healing garden. It would be a shame for UNMC to not participate in people wanting to walk around campus and engage with people of similar interest.

  15. Ryan says:

    If people with no official business can legitimately enter a restricted area, shouldn't we seek to fix the flaws in the security rather than trying to ban a children's game? Is it really wise to ignore these issues and play the blame game instead of admitting fault that the operations here cannot handle people aimlessly walking around looking for public areas? If there ever were determined individual(s) to seek such restricted areas, I am sure removing "pokestops" and calling security on children playing games will stop them! I am sad to see UNMC ignore such a glaring warning and instead focus on taking actions to tarnish UNMC's mission statement.

  16. Greg Weigner says:

    My mother was just telling me how she was having fun getting up and walking the halls to get Pokémon while in the hospital. This game is good for patients. Removing pokestops and gyms WILL NOT STOP PEOPLE FROM GOING PLACES ON CAMPUS. If you don't want some people in restricted areas, then how about better enforcing existing security policies and procedures.

  17. Kristin Wipfler says:

    The Graduate Student Association Executive Team has made a statement regarding the recent ban of Pokemon GO on campus:


  18. Josh B says:

    I recommend if you are being kind enough to drop lures for the kids a bunch of us have been doing it around Children's hospital because they have been very receptive to it as the kids have something to look forward to.

  19. Lizzy says:

    If anything the removal of the pokestops has only served to irritate the staff/patients/students there. However, if a drunken homeless man wanders into the area he does not need pokemon go in order to become a security threat.

  20. Nate says:

    I can understand the removal on the hospital side due to security concerns, but the removal of poke stops on the campus side is downright ridiculous. All of the locations were outside and not in a building, hence no change in security threat than before Pokemon Go. Do you not want people walking on campus? If that is the case why not just go all the way and build a wall around campus! As a student, I'm very disappointed in this knee-jerk reaction.

  21. Patrick says:

    I saw a group of men playing bocce ball near the Stent last Thursday. I'm assuming these games are also being banned.

  22. Pete Hill says:

    A complete overreaction and misuse of authority by someone given a bit of power to implement policy and controls. Clearly inept and lacking community and social skills. This person would be terminated effective immediately if you worked for me.

  23. MistaFista says:

    Pete Hill you aren't in a position to fire anyone. You don't even know who created this policy or what vetting it underwent yet you assume someone is misusing their authority.

    The campus is free to implement this policy if they want, playing Pokemon Go on any property you choose to isn't a right.

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