Yes, parents: you can block Pokemon Go in your car

July 18, 2016

Depending on your perspective (and possibly, your age), Pokemon Go is either the worst trend to hit America since Car Lashes, or it's a fantastic game that encourages sedentary teens and Millennials to get out of the house and be social.

No matter which camp you fall into, though, one thing's for sure: the behavior of some Pokemon Go enthusiasts has been alarming. Late last week, traffic in New York came to a standstill as hundreds of players swarmed into Central Park, looking for an elusive Vaporeon. Far worse, though, are the numerous reports of auto accidents that have resulted from drivers playing the game (not to mention mesmerized pedestrians who've walked into traffic).

The good news is, Nintendo has set a speed limit to prevent drivers, cyclists, and even mass transit passengers from catching Pokemon on the move. If you're traveling faster than about 15 miles per hour, the augmented reality creatures aren't coming out to play.

The bad news is, as you can see in the video above, people with presumably valid driver's licenses and a passion for Pokemon are cruising around neighborhoods at low speeds. They may be paying attention to the alerts on their phones, but that means that they're not keeping their eyes on the road. 

Cellcontrol

If you're a parent and you worry about your young driver being distracted by Pokemon, Pokestops, and other in-game features, you might be able to use Cellcontrol to keep your kid in line.

We first discussed Cellcontrol back in 2012, when the biggest worry on most parents' lists was texting and driving. Cellcontrol now offers a technology called DriveID that allows the blocking of specific apps while a vehicle is in motion--apps like, say, Pokemon Go. Or Snapchat. Or anything, really.

The way it works is pretty simple. DriveID is a piece of hardware attached to the interior of the windshield. It connects to smartphones using the DriveID app and Bluetooth. When it detects the presence of a particular phone running the DriveID app, controls set by parents or employers kick in. When the vehicle comes to a stop or the driver leaves the car, the restricted apps become available once more. (Like many such offerings, DriveID also issues reports on driver behavior, including speeding and hard braking.)

We admit, we haven't had the chance to poke around with DriveID, so we're not entirely sure that it's 100 percent foolproof. On the one hand, unlike Cellcontrol's OBD-II dongle, DriveID is solar-powered, making it harder to disengage. On the other hand, there are still a number of ways to disable Bluetooth, including via apps for both iOS and Android.

Still, if you have a teen (or an employee, if you're a fleet manager), who's intent on catching 'em all, Cellcontrol might be enough of a deterrent to keep them safe for now.

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