Staying safe whilst Pokéhunting

Every summer holiday that I can remember has seen some sort of fad come, last for 2 months, then disappear never to be seen again. The latest obsession is revolved around the 90’s hit TV animated series Pokémon.

Eager players are given the skills and tools like Ash Ketchum in their bid to catch ’em all. A major difference between the old Gameboy series of the popular franchise and the newly released augmented reality version is that you have to physically move around the area and beyond in order to catch all reported 151 of the creatures to complete your imaginary Pokédex.

Away from the computer screen – Lets go for a walk

Pokémon Go has taken over the app markets of both iOS and Google Play with it currently sitting proudly in first place on each of them. Beating the likes of social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter, even overtaking photo-sharing platform Instagram who actually boasts 500 billion active users.

Let’s have a moment of honesty here from everyone. Who has put down that games console controller and picked up their phone ready for a lengthy walk? *Raises hand* Guilty as charged.

Trainers up and down the country have taken to the streets in walks taking up many hours of their days in a bid to become the very best and catch all the Pokémon on offer. The walking is a necessary part of the game as it uses your GPS location to spawn the creatures, and you must also walk in order to hatch the eggs which are collected at Pokéstops.

Trainers can battle their Pokémon at gyms to earn rewards.
Trainers can battle their Pokémon at gyms to earn rewards.

Criticism of Pokémon Go

On the loading screen for Pokémon Go you are in fact warned to to keep aware of your surroundings whilst taking part in the virtual treasure hunt.

Unfortunately days after the release of Pokémon Go in the States police forces where put on quite a high alert due to a number of bizzare and some quite serious incidents. In Wyoming a teenage discovered a body in a river whilst playing the game – Albeit before she got there she walked over a highway bridge and jumped a fence to approach the water.

Also in America there have been reports of armed robberies taking place after criminals used the game to lure victims to an isolated trap in Missouri at certain Pokéstops. Trainers have the ability to set lures on the Pokéstops which attract wild Pokémon, these can be seen by all users of the game and it will also attract trainers as they try to collect all the monsters they can.

A lure on a Pokéstop that attracts wild Pokémon. This has been used by criminals to target victims.
A lure on a Pokéstop that attracts wild Pokémon. This has been used by criminals to target victims.

Pokémon Go can be downloaded onto any compatible device by anyone who wishes to play it. This does in fact mean everyone with a smartphone can download the app and start to play. A feature that does not appear in Pokémon Go is the ability to talk with other trainers, you also cannot see where other people are.

How to stay safe Pokéhunting

There is advice being given from various soruces regarding staying safe whilst hunting for all the Pokémon available to catch. From the NSPCC to local police authorities, advice can be found easily on the internet. We’ve put them all in one place for you.

  • Stay bright – Remain in well lit areas at all times. It is understand that the Pokémon you want may be found in their ‘natural’ environment but it really is not worthing venturing in unlit areas on your own in order to obtain the imaginary creature.
  • No trespassing – Remember to respect all property that you come across on your quest to be the very best. Should you actually be where you are stood? Land owners are well within their right to prosecute you for trespassing.
  • What’s ahead of you? – We are all guilty of walking down the street with our head buried in our phones but yet whilst playing Pokémon Go people seem to be having a hard time of looking up at all. Always make sure you are aware of where you are heading. To play the game you don’t even need to look at your phone as it vibrates when a Pokémon appears in the area.
  • Do you know where you are? – The loading screen, which we don’t seem to see much of anymore since the servers have been fixed, states “Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings“. This also applies for the point above. The exciting feature of the app is that you must move around in order to find all the Pokémon, make sure you either plan a route or know exactly how to get back to somewhere you know. You can even join in on Pokémon walks, more on that later.
  • Carry a spare battery pack – Your phones aren’t really designed to play games as such high capacity, any game on the market will drain your battery. Pokémon Go is no exception to this ruling and it will in fact drain it quicker than other games available. In-game, there is a feature that allows you to turn “battery saver” mode on. Go to Settings > Battery Saver – This feature will dim your phones display when your hold it upside down. As good as it is for any game to have a built in feature that saves your battery, this does not work miracles. Make sure you always have with you a spare, fully charged, portable battery pack. Ranging from £13.99 to £34.99 – I personally use the £13.99 option but this does not give any indication to how much battery you actually have left. Always read the reviews when purchasing your battery pack as some have been known to explode when used!
  • It’s fun for all the family! – Who decides whether a game is only for children? Pokémon Go is fun for all the family and can really bring relations closer together. Grab a picnic, grab those battery packs, put on your walking shoes and set off on an adventure. If being together as a family doesn’t seem to be the course of action then encourage the players to remain in groups.

Organised Pokémon walks

Pokémon Go uses your GPS to place Pokémon in real life places, this is what makes the game really unique as one of the first games to use augmented reality. In order to find all the Pokémon that have been placed in the game you need to get up and get walking.

The game has become such a hit throughout the country that people are now starting to organise walks to catch the Pokémon. At the time of publishing this article 467 people have stated they will be attending a walk organised in Preston, Lancashire for a full day of Pokémon hunting. 795 people have declared an interest for the event.

It is still recommended not to let your children attend these events on their own and you are advised to go with them. It can still be a fun day for all the family.

Pokéwalks are orgnaised walks for trainers to collect Pokémon whilst being in groups.
Pokéwalks are orgnaised walks for trainers to collect Pokémon whilst being in groups.

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