Pokémon GO is a new mobile game unlike any other. Yes, the kids and I have been enjoying playing it together like so many other families.
Pokémon GO requires players to go outside to play and get the full experience of the game. This has led to a slight problem, though. Tons of people are aimlessly walking around trying to catch Pokémon, staring at their phone screens…seemingly unaware of their surroundings (like busy streets and other people). I am shocked at how many people are going out late at night (especially when I hear of kids going out alone in the dark!) or going to remote places without a buddy.
There are so many good things about Pokémon GO, like helping people get out and get active, but there are many things that worry me about how so many are playing the game, so I gathered these 10 safety tips for Pokémon GO players. This way you can continue to catch ’em all….without having to worry.
Play with a Buddy
Perhaps my best advice is this: don’t play alone! There are stories of criminals luring people to a remote pokestop with the intent to rob or even kidnap. Pokémon GO is more fun when played with friends, anyway, and there is safety in numbers. When visiting pokestops or gyms, it’s always a good idea to bring along another person or two. Remind kids that it’s never, EVER ok to follow someone they don’t know anywhere, even if there’s a promise of a rare Pokémon.
Look Up & Be Aware
You don’t have to constantly stare at your phone’s screen to play Pokémon GO. You can put your phone in your pocket with the app still on and it will vibrate to alert you when a Pokémon is near you (you can also go to Settings and select “Battery Saver” to put your app on battery saver mode whenever you turn the phone upside down. This helps preserve battery a ton!). When you remember to look at your surroundings instead of your phone screen all the time, you won’t accidentally walk into another person or into the middle of the road…..or a ditch where you could twist an ankle. Always watch where you’re walking.
Catching a Pokémon
If a Pokémon pops up on your screen, you do not have to be right next to it to catch it. You just need to click on the Pokémon, and it stays with you until you can catch it. Many people think you need to be next to a Pokémon to capture it, and has lead to people walking into busy roads, which isn’t safe! Always, always move to a safe spot to catch a Pokémon and never step into (or stay in) a dangerous situation just for the chance to catch a new, rare Pokémon.
Walking is a huge part of this game. If you are planning on going out for awhile, bring some supplies. Pack a backpack with things like water to stay hydrated, snacks, phone charger (since the app eats up your phone battery), etc. If you are playing at night add in some supplies like a flashlight and maybe bring something to protect yourself, like pepper spray. But remember – your most important supply may be the friends you bring along!
Since walking is a big part of this game, you’ll want to make sure you are comfortable. Comfy shoes are a must as well as making sure you are dressed for the weather. If rain is in the forecast (or if you live somewhere where rain can happen any day, any time, make sure you have an umbrella and enough battery power to call home if a ride is needed.
If it is late at night, it is probably best to avoid Pokéstops that have lures on them, as there have been cases lately of people using them to lure people to specific spots for criminal intent. Don’t be persuaded by the fact there may be a special Pokémon in a certain area that is suspicious and don’t let others pressure you into going into any suspicious areas. If it doesn’t feel safe, stay away. Remember that there is safety in numbers and public places and daylight are always better than remote places and the dark of night time.
Pokéstops can be in random places….one of the weirdest so far that we’ve heard of is cemeteries. Remember to be respectful, wherever you are catching Pokémon, whether it’s a park with young children or a cemetery or a church. It is best not to be loud and boisterous since not everyone plays the game, especially in cemeteries where people may be there to grieve or churches, where people are going to worship.
Stay off of Private Property
Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do if you weren’t playing Pokémon GO. Remember that Pokémon can be found on private property, but that does not mean that you suddenly have permission to enter that private property to catch it. If it seems appropriate, you can certainly ask the owner’s permission to enter their property, but it’s important to remember to be respectful of people’s time just as much as you are respectful of their time,
Don’t Play and Drive
Yes, this has probably been said a million times, but it cannot be stressed enough. Just like texting and driving, it is NOT safe to catch Pokémon while driving, and you should never do it. It is just common sense and hopefully not too many people will have to be hurt before players will realize how dangerous playing while driving is.
This is more of a safety tip for your bank account. It mainly applies to you if your children are playing on your device. Make sure to log out of your App Store account before you let them play because in Pokémon GO, you can make purchases. There have been a lot of coincidences where kids accidentally purchase extras within the app and they end up costing you A LOT of money.
This new game is a fun and inventive a way to get avid gamers active outside. Even people who never play video games love it! It has built its own community and is altogether really fun. But it is important to be safe no matter what.
Do you have any safety tips you could add? Have you played Pokémon GO yet? Share in the comments!
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