One of the most recent smartphone app sensations – Pokémon Go – has been gaining fast popularity over some of the most well-known gaming apps out there. Pokémon Go brings gamers into an augmented reality where they can explore the surrounding neighborhood, catch and train Pokémon and compete with other trainers in battle arenas – better known as gyms.
Fortune Magazine reported that 60 percent of U.S. downloaders use the game every day. Also, the magazine has data that shows the average player is using the mobile app more often than others such as Snapchat and Instagram. If you’ve “gotta catch ’em all,” put your personal safety first. Use some of the following tips to stay safe while you play Pokémon Go.
Trainers who play Pokémon Go on a daily basis should have an idea what the weather is going to be like before heading outside to catch Pokémon. Don’t head outdoors in the event of severe weather or a storm. If you decide to walk to Pokéstops or make the trek that’s required to hatch an egg, take frequent breaks, find shade on a hot day or bring along extra water. Also, be aware of the surrounding terrain. Any unexpected hills, steps, drop-offs or heavily forested areas could lead to serious injury.
Pokémon Go is a great way to get out of the house and interact with other Pokémon trainers in your area. However, keep in mind that the majority of trainers are probably strangers, so it’s important to stick with a friend at a Pokéstop or catch Pokémon in an area where you can seek immediate help if necessary. If you’re a parent of a child who plays Pokémon Go, discuss stranger safety rules together and set some gaming boundaries.
When you come across a Pokéstop in a suspicious area – such as an alley way or deserted parking lot – try to avoid it completely. Dangerous people might use remote Pokéstops or the game’s “Lure Module” to attract nearby trainers for the wrong reasons. Some trainers who have traveled to suspicious Pokéstops have experienced theft or other threatening incidents.
If you’re driving, do not take out your phone to play Pokémon Go. The U.S. government website for distracted driving reports that about 430,000 people were injured and more than 3,000 people were killed in accidents involving distracted drivers in 2014. If you’re behind the wheel, keep your attention on the road. Also, avoid pulling over on the side of the road or highway to catch Pokémon. An abrupt decision to pull over or change lanes can put you and others in danger.
The quest for sought-after Pokémon might lead you to a handful of different locations and landmarks. However, remember that there’s an appropriate time and place to play Pokémon Go. Avoid playing the game in sacred or serious locations such as churches, cemeteries, memorial museums or hospitals. Locations such as the Arlington National Cemetery, 9/11 Memorial and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are places for reflection and should be treated with the utmost respect.
In addition to avoiding the mobile app in inappropriate locations, Pokémon Go players should never trespass on private property. There have been instances where houses and backyards have been listed as Pokéstops or gyms without permission from the homeowner. Trespassing is against the law, so always be mindful of where you’re playing.
When you’re out catching Pokémon and hatching eggs, notify parents or friends and provide updates as you move from one location to another. Also, don’t get distracted and wander off on your own. Look for Pokémon with a group of trustworthy friends or bring a parent along to teach them the ropes of Pokémon Go!
Pokémon Go users have reported that the app quickly drains battery and uses data because it uses smartphone features such as the camera and GPS system. However, one of the app’s settings is a battery saver mode that optimizes phone battery life, according to the Pokémon Go setting guidelines
. If you’re planning to play the game for an extended period of time, track your phone battery and bring along a portable charger. In addition, be sure to monitor your data usage. Playing the game frequently might put you over your monthly data limit, resulting in a higher phone bill.
Although it’s easy to get caught up in Pokémon Go’s exciting augmented reality, don’t forget about actual reality. Stay alert, know your surroundings and, of course, have fun!