Pokémon Go—a location-based, free-to-play game for iOS and Android smartphones—has been encouraging players to get outside and walk around. However, players should be fully aware of how the game works in order to ensure that they remain safe at all times.
Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings to Stay Safe
Pokémon Go uses a smartphone’s GPS and gyroscope sensors to determine a player’s location. The game then uses that information to display Pokémon near the player, through the phone’s camera. The game also marks popular locations, such as parks, memorials and other frequently visited areas, as places where players can compete with each other and gather free in-game items.
The game has proven to be extremely popular with a variety of age groups, with over 7.5 million downloads in its first week of availability. However, its focus on traveling to new locations and the constant need to look down at a phone to play presents a variety of risks to players.
Here are some basic safety tips to keep in mind while playing Pokémon Go:
- Never travel to an unfamiliar area while playing the game. Thieves have been known to gather near popular areas identified as meeting spots by the game.
- Look up from your phone regularly to watch out for obstacles such as rocks, stairs and bodies of water.
- Never look at your phone while you’re crossing a street. Drivers may assume that you’re fully aware of your surroundings while you’re crossing.
Pokémon Go should never be played while driving. As the game requires a player to constantly look at his or her phone, it can cause a substantial risk of an auto accident. Additionally, the game will not function properly while moving at high speeds, which can increase the likelihood of an accident.