Safe monster hunting with Pokémon Go

It’s a good thing that Pokémon settled down in the USA first. There, the monster hunters have already gained some experiences and had some nasty surprises.
Now, the game has also launched in Germany with a lot of success. So that monster hunting doesn’t become dangerous for children, adults can find 10 safety tips here for playing Pokémon Go safely and responsibly.
With Pokémon Go, the game is to find and capture little monsters with the phone camera or inside the app within the player’s physical surroundings. This leads to players often looking only at their phone screens while hunting, instead of dangers from moving cars, obstacles or uneven and treacherous ground. This phenomenon isn’t new, but with Pokémon Go it’s certainly exacerbated by the pressure to find the monsters and the overlay of the virtual onto the real environment.
The game makers included so-called Poké-stops that are supposed to attract Pokémon. Thus it pays off for the player to seek out these places. Usually these Poké-stops are located in busy places such as landmarks or monuments – but not always. And at some times of the day or night, even frequented places get deserted... This provides good opportunities for thieves to steal from inattentive players. This is one way a Poké-stop can become a danger spot for the monster hunter. So the rule is: Never take off for remote, unfrequented Poké-stops, or at least never alone.
Many players like to post their successes on social media platforms. These screen shots usually give information about where they are standing the moment they take the picture. This phenomenon isn’t new either, but again it’s increasing with the new game. Postings should always be limited to a selected audience, at best people who the player knows personally.
As with most other games, one has to create an avatar with a user name to play. If you play with your real name, you effectively broadcast it to all the other players. So: Use nicknames!
At first Pokémon Go is free. But with in-app purchases, however, a player can buy a “lure” to bring powerful Pokémon to a Poké-stop. Because the game offers no way to turn off this possibility, children and young people can end up spending a lot of money.
Resourceful business people in the United States have already tried to get players to come to the vicinity of their stores where Poké-stops are found. They do this by buying lures to attract Pokémon and therefore players. The idea is that Pokémon hunters also get hungry. So the pizza sold right at the Poké-stop is also bait for the players to buy lunch.
Since the middle of July, the official version of the game has been available in German Android and iOS app stores. Along with it, there are several copies of the game in circulation – some of them are from illegitimate game makers who collect user data for misuse.
Even the official version of the game shouldn’t just be installed without a further thought. Before the user may play even once, they have to accept a long list of conditions. Among other things, the terms don’t exclude the possibility that the game makers may transmit user data to third parties. So it is worthwhile to study the conditions very carefully and reflect on whether one really wants to accept such terms.
Especially when players hunt for monsters far away from their homes in urban areas, they might need to use their phone to get back home – to check the map or buy a transport ticket or call their parents. So the rule is: Don’t use up the whole charge, save some battery for the trip home.
On the other hand, it’s not such a bad thing when the battery runs out and the game ends in a “natural” way. Pokémon Go is a game without an end! Due to ever advancing challenges, the motivation to play can last for a long time. So it’s important not to lose sight of the “played up” time that could be used for the demands of the real world, like school, studies or work.
The original post is from Walter Fikisz, Social Media Manager / University of Lower Austria. Written by T-Mobile Austria for the kids blog (in German).