Safety First Before You Pokémon Go Out Into the World

Pokémon Go recommendations after recent stampede in Taiwan.

Posted Aug 24, 2016

Source: Pixaby

​Pokémon Go continues to come under attack for its style of gameplay, namely putting users at risk of danger as they move about town to various Pokéstops. As one battles, traps and captures, it is important to keep in mind that one still exists in the real world! 

As the Pokémon Go fever continues to spark interest, it is essential to play safe and be aware of other children. Helpful Pokémon Go tips are provided and compiled by Naveed Husain, chief information officer at Teachers College, who is responsible for providing innovative technology solutions for Teachers College, Columbia University. As a parent, player, and technology professional, he offers some kind, helpful and realistic advice for players and caregivers.

Husain sees the Augmented Reality Platform of Pokémon Go as a means to “bridge the real world and outdoor activities with Video Game Fun,” which is an innovative offering compared to other interactive games on the market today. However, there are some things to keep in mind: Husain notes “People cannot multi-task effectively. There are real dangers on the road, like criminal elements, traffic, pot holes. When one is not aware of surroundings, one is at high risk of causing harm to others and self.” For instance, one woman climbed a tree and then needed to be rescued by her local fire department. This ultimately cost time and money.

The game even caused a stampede in Taiwan this past Saturday, as shown by an unverified video posted on Time Magazine's website. Interest in the game has waned a bit in the U.S., but it is still very much active in other parts of the world, and is popular with younger players now seeking to participate. Thus, the safety of the playing spaces continues to be a concern.

However, there are positives to the new gaming platform. Husain believes there is great potential for parents and kids to play together. “I love the fact that it gives me something in common with my kids.  We share similar experiences.  I am on a different team, but we can talk about our battles and the latest character we caught, and strategize. It requires a great deal of time to get to any decent level.”

Husain was helpful in locating some safety tips from the NYPD Community Affairs Division. These recommendations are important for both for parents and players.

  • Be alert at all times.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings.
  • Play in pairs or a group to ensure safety. 
  • Do not drive or ride a bike, skateboard, or engage in any other mobility device while interacting with Pokémon Go. Once cannot possibly do both safely.
  • Do not trespass onto private property.
  • Teach children about "stranger danger." The Pokémon Go may draw strangers together in real life at "Pokéstops."
  • Be aware of third party software apps claiming to enhance the Pokémon Go gaming experience. These 3rd party apps give access to sensitive data (i.e. name, email, calendar, etc.).

Husain's final words: “I cannot say not to play, but be aware of what you are compromising for the enjoyment.”

Wishing everyone luck in their quests! Happy hatching, trapping, and training! 

Acknowledgments: This article was created with the assistance of Naveed Husain, chief learning officer at Teachers College, Columbia University.