Pokemon Go is a new app that is taking the US by storm! Far from the days of collectible cards, this new smartphone game uses GPS technology to create an activity that combines old school Pokemon, Geocaching and Virtual Reality. “Trainers” catch Pokemons with a Pokeball that appears in the app, and then take them to a “gym” to train, and then you are sorted into teams where you play to win!
It’s all done on your phone so it’s not only portable, but it’s IMPOSSIBLE to play sitting in front of a screen indoors. The only way to catch and train your Pokemon is to get out and walk in your community. The result? Kids and adults alike are out playing and getting into their neighborhoods in ways we haven’t seen since the days of stickball. Finally we have technology that gets the kids out of the house instead of in!
As much fun as everyone is having with the game Pokemon Go, it is important to stay safe and law-abiding. So here’s some tips we’ve compiled for users and non-users to keep it fun for everyone.
The game programmers have included a lot of local businesses and landmarks in the game to get people out hunting. But these places are not always open for business, and it some cases have been inaccurately labeled as landmarks when they are actually private residences, such as this man whose church house has been inundated with players at all hours after POKEMON GO identified it as a “gym.” Our own president, Chris Cooke, has had to deal with trespassing after dark at historic Oak Hill Cemetery. Please do not try to catch Pokemon after business hours, or trespass on private property. It’s not only an annoyance to residents and caretakers, but it can be dangerous as well.
Here’s a great post from KISS 106.1 detailing when popular spots close.
2. Stay Safe on the Streets!
Keep your eyes off your game when you are crossing the street! A flat Pokemon Trainer is no good to anyone. And please don’t try to catch Pokemon’s when you are driving! Keep your phone put away and don’t get it back out until you have reach your designated location. Keep an eye on your children and set guidelines and boundaries for them so they stay close to home and don’t wander in where they are not allowed.
3. Don’t Panic!
This game brings people from all walks of life out into the greater community. You might see people you don’t know in your neighborhood and they might be acting strangely with their cell phones. Try to determine if they are just playing a game before you let your suspicions get the best of you. If they aren’t damaging property or trespassing best not bother law enforcement.
4. Stay Aware!
In one instance, this game was used to target potential robbery victims. While this information should not be used to cause a panic and is likely not to happen again since the perps were caught quickly (what made it easy to target victims also made it easy for them to be caught) , it is good to be aware of your surroundings and play with caution.
It’s encouraging to see people getting out into their communities, getting exercise, fresh air and meeting new people! Every recreational activity carries an element of risk. So please have fun, use common sense, and please stay safe and respect your neighbors and businesses!