Here's How Pokémon Go Is Changing Our Lives For the Better

The Summer of 2016 is, without question, the Summer of Pokémon Go. Everyone is playing the game, bragging about their winning streak at the local gym, complaining about the server going down, or walking into a stationary object while playing. But it's not all about the game. Plenty of great experiences have come out of Pokémon Go that make people feel like they can overcome insurmountable circumstances — or just get through the standard day-to-day.

In a year with lots of bad news flooding our feeds, the game has made it feel slightly easier to talk to people around you without any political or emotional agenda. And even if you haven't personally played the game, you've likely had a conversation about Pokémon Go with your friends. It has become an acceptable form of conversation — "catch any good ones around here?" — and an icebreaker on a scale that we've never seen app platforms reach before.

So in the spirit of the Summer of Pokémon, here are some of the greatest examples of Pokémon Go changing lives for the better.


The game is helping kids learn how to socialize.

Lenore Koppelman's son, who has autism, connected with the game so strongly that he's now going out of his way to interact with other kids. After a lifetime of struggling to engage, he's learning skills that previously felt out of his reach. This is just one example out of what is sure to be many more to come.


It helps ease anxiety and depression.

Social anxiety can be debilitating and it's often hard to find reasons to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Pokémon Go's communal spirit makes it easy to share the successes and little wins, causing those who previously wouldn't have engaged with strangers to feel like they have something they can connect over.


The game is connecting people globally and generationally.

In a time where it's easy to avoid conversation, some people are really going out of their way to do things they wouldn't ordinarily have done, and that kindness is going a long way and spans across countries and age groups!


Pokémon Go is an example of how celebrities are just like us.

Seriously, George Takei caught a Spearow and loved it.


It can improve the most daunting tasks, like going to the gym.

This is quite an upgrade on the usual gym selfie. And a good joke, too!


The game is a good reminder that we're never alone.

Same, buddy. Same.


Pokémon Go gives us a reason to take the dog for a slightly longer walk than usual.

Your legs and your pups are thanking you, I swear.


It's bringing neighbors together.

This set of photos is literally a Pokémon Go festival at a local park!


Pokémon Go is giving us all a reason to get outside and enjoy our lives.

I know we'll all probably still have smartphones near our faces, but one step at a time!