Pokémon Go – Safety First!

CMG_PokemonGoSafety_20160714

What is Pokémon Go? A very popular phone game featuring augmented reality. This technology uses real-world places and landmarks and overlays the magical world of Pokémon. Users catch Pokémon, battle in local gyms, and visit Pokestops.

Why is everyone walking around looking at their phones?  One of the main aspects of this game is to catch Pokémon in the real world – which means being out in the real world! The game uses your phone’s GPS signal to track your position and direct you to local Pokémon. There are also designated Pokestops where people can get free in-game items; usually, these stops are cultural or historical landmarks, museums, churches, parks, and post offices. Some areas of the Hudson Valley (and the country) have more stops than others.

For more information, check out this article about Pokémon Go basics http://www.androidcentral.com/pokemon-go-learn-basics

 

Safety Tips for playing Pokémon Go

 

Watch where you are going! Like Gyarados says – Always be alert to your surroundings!  Watch where you are walking, and especially be careful around roads and cars.  People have tripped and hurt themselves by not paying attention to walking.

Pro tip: Keep the app running on “vibrate” and it will buzz when there’s a Pokémon nearby!

 

Don’t Pokémon and Drive!  We’re looking at you, teen drivers.  Put the Pokémon down, or let your passengers catch them for you. It is officially illegal for drivers to use their phones while driving, including while playing Pokémon Go!

Also be careful while on a bike, skates, or skateboards. You still have to pay attention to where you are going!

 

Don’t trespass – just because there is a Dragonite in your neighbor’s yard doesn’t mean that you can just walk in and claim it.  Do not trespass onto private property or go to areas you usually would not enter if you weren’t playing Pokémon Go

Be careful and stick to the safer neighborhoods.  Police have issued warnings about thieves who have been setting up lures to attract both Pokémon and the game players just to rob them.

 

Night-time dangers If you’re out at night chasing Pokémon (not that we recommend this), make sure you wear light-colored and/or reflective clothing to make sure that drivers can see you!

 

Play in groups or pairs – Pokémon can be a great app to play with your kids, especially since it involves walking and exploring your neighborhood! If you can’t play with them, make sure that they stick together while hunting for Pokémon for safety.

 

Know your (and your child’s) limits – Pokémon Go involves a lot of walking, and if you play for an hour or two you could end of walking more than you thought! You could end up with sore legs, and then still have to turn around and walk back home. Make sure also to stay hydrated by drinking water, and make sure you’re all wearing sunscreen!

Being outside and walking is a great family activity, and we greatly encourage you to consider your fitness levels when planning your walks.

 

Set boundaries for kids, and enforce them. If their regular boundary is to stay on one or two blocks near their home, enforce that rule for Pokémon Go as well. When roaming further, make sure they are chaperoned, especially when they are far from their normal areas (vacations, camp, etc.). Carry an extra battery pack for emergencies, because Pokémon Go is great at draining phone batteries.

 

Can strangers see my kids? No one can see each other on the map IN THE GAME. Of course, people can see you wandering around outside. The only way anyone can see another player is if they physically walk near one another in real life, attempting to get to the same Pokestop or Gym.

 

Parents – make sure that your account (and your child’s) are secure! The game includes the ability to purchase in-game items like Pokeballs and lures using real money through your Google Play or iTunes account. Make sure that you have your account set to either block or limit these transactions (more information here: iTunes, Android).

Also keep in mind that Pokémon Go uses cell phone data while you are wandering around looking for Pikachu. Most plans have data limits, so make sure you know how much you have available and how much is used to avoid overage charges from your cell phone carrier.