Jul 19, 2016
How To Stay Safe While Playing ‘Pokémon Go’
By now you’ve probably heard of Pokémon Go – the game that’s taken the Internet (and our office!) by storm.
Pokémon – a popular 90’s cartoon and gaming franchise – revolves around the idea of Pokémon trainers scouring the world to capture and train mystical creatures with supernatural powers and abilities. The more battles a trainer wins, the higher they rank until they eventually become a Pokémon master.
Although our friends in the States have already discovered the joys and dangers of this phenomenon, here in Canada Pokémon Go has only been officially available for two days. With cautionary tales already popping up, we decided to create a five-step guide to safely playing Pokémon Go:
- Don’t walk into poles. Or trees. Or walls. Or ditches.
- If you have to hop a fence, it’s probably private property and it’s safe to assume you should not be there. I know the motto is “catch ’em all” but
- If you encounter a road, look both ways before crossing, keep looking when you’re crossing, and look both ways before crossing back.
- I know we all like to think that we’re super talented but anytime you’re on anything with wheels, you need to be focused on your surroundings. A true master would never Pokémon and drive.
- Always Pokémon with a fellow trainer.
Although these are all common sense tips, it’s a good reminder that the augmented reality you see on your smartphone does not include many of the important features (ie. cars, other people, etc.) that are, in fact, there.
With a more serious tone…
If your kids play Pokémon Go, it’s important for you to keep in mind that part of the game relies on interaction with other users. At PokéStops and Gyms (both of which are located at major landmarks in the area), users will physically be in the same space to battle their Pokémons . Although this is one of the benefits of the game, it can also open your children to risks through interaction with more strangers. Because Pokémon Go is loved by all age groups (there’s a reason it surpassed popular dating app Tinder!), there is no guarantee they will be interacting with kids their own age. There have already been a couple reports of sex offenders at some of the key locations for the game.
Discussing “Stranger Danger” with your children, setting out clear boundaries and guidelines for when they’re out playing the game, and supervising your kids are all ways to help ensure their safety. You can also endorse the buddy system; they have to go “catch ’em all” with their friends.
Our final safety tip: no matter what your age is, always go out with people (yes, this is #6 reinforced for the third time… it’s pretty important). As in the case of these gunpoint robberies, criminals can take advantage of some of the location features in the app, especially with PokéStops. Ensuring that you are not alone or secluded from your group will decrease these risks when collecting Poké Balls or catching Pokémon.
Don’t forget to put Piper in Armed Away Mode before you head out! You can check in on your home at any time just by switching apps, and receive notifications if anything happens.