Insight

Pokemon Go: How to Stay Safe While Playing

Not only has Pokemon Go sparked a cultural phenomenon bordering on obsession, it has also produced some absolutely astounding effects.

Pokemon Go Safety
William W. Hurst

William W. Hurst

November 22, 2016 12:00 AM

Seemingly everyone from small children to twenty-somethings and even people with a little more life experience is joining in on the recent Pokemon Go craze. The game, which is as close Be Awareto a real life adaptation of the Pokemon world as anyone could hope for is played OUTSIDE using your phone to track down Pokemon and battle other members of the community for ownership of Pokemon gyms. Not only has this sparked a cultural phenomenon bordering on obsession, it has also produced some absolutely astounding effects, both good and bad.

First, on the bright side of things more people have been outside around Indianapolis in the last week than I can remember seeing, you have to walk around to find Pokemon so all these people playing are exercising (shhhh . . . don’t tell them), and because teamwork is required to take over gyms and it’s easier to “hunt” Pokemon in groups a sense of community has evolved with people actually talking face to face.

The negatives of the game are a little scary, however, and we’ve taken notice Pokemon goof some bad habits which include people not being aware of their surroundings as they play despite the game explicitly warning you to do so, people driving while playing, and in some instances bad people using the game to lure in unsuspecting patrons to rob them or worse. Those bad things are what we want to make you aware of so you don’t end up like the person in the picture on the right.

Tips For Staying Safe

• DO NOT PLAY WHILE DRIVING!!! This is as dangerous, if not more dangerous than texting and driving. Again, we don’t want you to end up in a car accident because you do a U-Turn and jump over a median to catch a Pidgeotto, I promise there will be another chance to catch one that doesn’t involve you risking you being in an accident.

• Keep your head up while you’re playing. You don’t need to stare directly at your phone the entire time because your phone will vibrate when a Pokemon appears. When tracking a GameplayPokemon look at your phone ever 100 feet or so, it doesn’t make sense to do it any more than that because the paw prints all represent 100 meters, meaning if there are 3 paw prints next to the Pokemon you are tracking it’s 300 meters away. Keeping your head up will allow you to continually be aware of your surroundings so you aren’t running into other people walking, biking, or even driving.

• Travel in groups if possible. There have been reports of some sketchy people using Lures at Pokestops to get other players to come to that location so they can rob them. One way to prevent that from happening is to travel in groups, odds are a lone robber doesn’t want to deal with 4-5 people at a time.

• Be sensible. Don’t go join the “late night hunt” in a secluded area of someone you’ve never met. That sounds like the beginning of an incredibly cheesy horror film that we don’t want you to be the real life inspiration for.

Thoughts On Niantic’s Possible Liability Exposure

With Pokemon Go creating this phenomenon where people are out wondering the streets on foot or even in their cars trying to catch pokemon there may be some exposure on the side of Niantic for injuries sustained people while playing the game. While they do give you a warning to be aware of your surroundings this may not be enough. Just as with the SnapChat Speed filter situation the creators of the game have to be aware at this point that people are playing the game while driving and it would seem to be easy for the company to program something in that shut the game off when a player is travelling over a certain speed, especially since they already have something programmed in that prevents you from progressing an egg when traveling at higher speed. The answer to that question is one we do not yet know, but unfortunately probably will at some point. Be safe out there and good luck.

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