By now, almost everyone has heard about the new Pokemon Go app. Using a mapping system, the app creates an augmented reality where you can collect Pokemon (little creatures) wherever you go. It also challenges players to travel to different locations to collect Pokemon. While this is very innovative and entertaining, it has raised a variety of safety risks. Below are some things to be aware of to stay safe and have fun while playing the game.
- Be aware of your surroundings
It’s easy to become much less aware of what’s going on around you while using the app. Trying the game out myself for the first time, I almost ran into a street lamp and other people on the sidewalk because I was staring down at my phone. Remember to pay attention to your surroundings at all times.
To avoid an accident, watch where you walk and stay away from hazardous areas (such as ledges or construction zones). In most cases, it is best to stop walking and move to the side when you are looking at your phone screen. Also, remember to always put down your phone while crossing the street to reduce the chance of being hit by a car. Pokemon can wait!
- Stay in Safe Places
To collect Pokemon, the player must move around their location. While this is a great way to discover new attractions nearby, it may also cause individuals to be outside at night or in unfamiliar areas. As tempting as it may be to catch a rare Pokemon in a dark alley, there may be real life dangers lurking inside. Be sure to stick to well-lit and populated areas.
If you go outside at night, remember to always have a buddy and a flashlight with you. You can download our Emergency App to access a flashlight, strobe light or an alarm in case an emergency occurs.
- Use Safety Features
Something that I didn’t know existed when I started playing the game was the ability to change the camera settings. By removing the camera capabilities of the app, you can stabilize the Pokemon once you click on them, so you don’t have to spin around to catch them (risking your own stability).
I’ve also learned that catching a Pokemon only requires clicking the circle it’s in. This means that you don’t have to venture closer to it if the environment doesn’t seem safe.
- Never Use Your Phone While Driving
Remember that it is never safe to use your phone while driving (even to catch Pokemon)! Bring a passenger along instead who can do the catching for you, or take public transportation. Follow our Highway Safety Guide for more safe driving tips.
- Be Careful Outside in the Heat
Now that it’s summer, keep track of the amount of time you’re spending in the sun playing the game. With temperatures soaring, be sure to drink lots of water, use sunscreen and maybe bring a hat and some food along if you don’t know how long you’ll be outside. Our Heat Safety Checklist can help prepare you for dealing with high temperatures.
Now have fun and good luck catching Pokemon!