Watch Your Surroundings and Watch Out for Others
There are (virtual) Pokémon among us. They’re in our parks, on our sidewalks and at our national monuments. And, you can catch them and train them for battle with the Pokémon Go game for mobile phones.
In the world of Pokémon, humans known as trainers collect Pokémon creatures, develop their skills and face off against another trainer’s Pokémon in battle. They’ve been around since the 1990s but were relegated to video games, trading cards and movies until now. Pokémon Go augments reality to show the creatures in real-world locations using a smartphone’s GPS, camera and other features. And, people are scrambling to find them.
You may have noticed groups wandering through your neighborhood or had people bump into you on the sidewalk with their phones held out. They’re some of the many millions of Americans out and about trying to capture Pokémon.
The enormously popular new game has been celebrated for getting gamers and young people up off the couch and out into the world. But, hunting down Pokémon all across town and at all hours of the day and night isn’t without its risks.
If you or anyone you know decides to embark on a quest to catch them all (151 creatures total), make sure to keep personal safety in mind at all times. Here are five tips for your Pokémon adventures:
- Be aware: You don’t want to let that Pokémon slip away, but you don’t want to walk into traffic or off a ledge either. So, keep your gameplay contained to parks and other open spaces – just always be aware of what or who is around you. Keep your eyes off your screen while walking and be respectful to others. Don’t bump into other people, trample someone’s yard or play in inappropriate places, such as museums and memorials, while on the trail of a new virtual pet.
- Don’t play while driving: It may be tempting to drive from Pokéstop to Pokéstop in your efforts to catch them all, but Pokémon Go was never meant to be played on the open road. In fact, walking factors into the game by allowing new creatures to hatch from eggs while you’re on the move.
Remember, splitting your attention while driving puts yourself and others at risk. Don’t stop suddenly to pick up a creature or other items or you may get rear-ended – or worse. Even if your passengers are playing, make sure not to let their gameplay influence your driving. It’ll always be better to wait until you reach your destination to play, or just walk instead – those eggs won’t hatch themselves!
- Bring a friend along: Pokémon Go players can benefit from having someone around who is fully present in the real world, not the virtual one. Sometimes exploring new areas looking for Pokémon can lead to dangerous places, so it’s good to have an extra set of eyes. Just don’t forget to stay aware of your surroundings yourself.
- Be careful of lures at night: Longtime Pokémon fans aren’t the only ones aware of the game. Criminals and thieves are, too, and they’re camping out at Pokéstops ready to rob players who happen by. This risk is compounded at night, when there are fewer people around in parks and on the streets. Better to wait until the morning to hunt down that Pokémon than risk losing your phone, wallet and more.
- Watch your belongings: As always when you’re in a public place, keep track of your belongings. Distracted people are easy targets for pickpockets and thieves, especially in crowded areas.