If you are among the millions of users who have already downloaded the Pokemon GO application, stop what you’re doing right now and download the new update which is available now in the App Store. In addition to fixing a few programming bugs, the update changes the scope of the application from allowing administrators to view everything you do on Google and will now protect your privacy by limiting access to just your User ID and email address.
For those not in the know, Pokémon GO is a gaming application that fuses augmented reality with real life interaction by placing virtual creatures and items in real-world locations. This means game play has brought people to places they don’t normally go.
There have been a few mishaps along the way:
A Wyoming woman found a dead body. The Holocaust Museum has had to ask people to leave, and police are warning the public to be aware that muggers can “add a beacon to a Pokéstop to lure more players.”
Any game that takes you from inside the safety of your home and into the realities of the outside world is going to require the user to employ a higher level of situational awareness. Pokemon GO warns users right when they start to: “Be aware of your surroundings,” but the University of Maryland has already had 3 students robbed while being unaware of their surroundings during gameplay and a 28-year-old man crashed his car into a tree after being distracted by the game.
After all, while you’re tracking down Picachu in his world, it’s important to remember that you’re actually playing in ours. Here’s a few tips to keep you safe on the trail:
- Be careful when crossing streets, using public transportation, driving, riding a bike, or walking down the street. Keep your head up and your eyes open;
- Do not go onto private property, dark alleys, or remote areas you would not typically go if you weren’t playing the game;
- Identify safe havens in nearby areas…those places where you know you can go for help if you feel unsafe;
- Respect private businesses; museums, and memorials;
- Consider playing in groups so you can look out for each other.
Awareness + Preparation = Safety