Pokemon GO Safety Tips with a Dangerous Reminder
I am so sad to have to write an article titled Pokemon GO Safety Tips with a dangerous reminder but in this case it’s very important. I play this game with my kids. I do everything with my kids. I want to be involved but even more so, I want to know what they are doing and they are safe.
It’s been a week now since we’ve been playing the game. We are already at level 12 and level 13 between all of us. It’s really fun! It’s a great way to spend quality time together with friends or family while playing this adventurous game. In fact, I was just raving yesterday about how much I love this game. I ask my kids to do their chores before we go out to play and I swear, I have never seen kids do their chores so fast before. I don’t even have to ask twice! Where has this game been all my life?!! Not only do the chores get done but we are all outside exercising! It’s a win-win!
Now lets talk a bit about the dangerous side of playing the Pokemon GO game. Kids can get distracted really easily. This goes for some of the younger children. I’ve seen kids almost walk out in to the street while looking at their screen just to see if they are getting closer to the Pokemon that’s nearby. I have seen Moms grab their kids by the shirts to stop them before they even realized what they were doing. I highly suggest you play the game with your child or at least go with them when out and about in public to see how distracted your child is.
I want to share a situation that happened to me and a group of kids on this last Thursday night. We live in a fairly small town. Our downtown area is well lit and has tons of Pokestops because of all the historical landmarks in the area. It’s a great place to walk a few miles and grab tons of free items. I live in Texas so the heat can be unbearable until after the sun goes down which is the reason we like to go at night. Surprisingly there are lots of people out playing this game at night. Probably for the same reasons I just mentioned.
We had seven people in our group. Most of these kids are teenagers but my youngest and I went with them. My youngest is really tall so she could probably be mistaken for a teenager herself. We headed downtown to walk the strip. We were wearing our blue team Mystic t-shirts and having a blast. We noticed two gyms in the area that were pretty strong and already taken over by our team color. We also noticed a few lures in the area. We decided against going to the lures because they were down really dark streets and we just didn’t feel safe about it. The street speed limit down this strip is only 30 miles per hour. It’s pretty safe (or so I thought).
We just had a car pass us and shout something out the window. We couldn’t really hear what they were saying. We just shrugged it off and didn’t think much of it. They were going down the street the same way we were. We ended up turning around and going back up the street we just came from because we finished the block and we plan to head back to our car.
We looked both ways before we started to cross the street. No cars were turning and none close enough to matter. Once we got to almost the middle of the street a car steps on the gas and turns in to where we were crossing! I promise you they came one inch of hitting myself and my youngest. I immediately heard the car tires screech when they pulled around the corner and stopped in my tracks as I held my other hand out to stop my youngest in her tracks. We were heading up the group line as we walked. I couldn’t believe what just happened. They purposely took that corner fast and came right at us! I was a bit shocked! Then as they got to the next block they were speeding to come back around the block! I immediately told these group of kids/teens to run and hide in the bushes near a building we were close to. I had a bad feeling that they were coming back around the corner to come at us again! It happened so fast and so quickly that I didn’t even have time to get a license plate number or a really good look at the guy driving. I do remember her had blonde hair but I didn’t see his face. Sure enough this guy comes back around the corner as we are hiding and this time he is driving slowly looking in the area he just tried to run us over! We stayed quiet and hidden until after he left. We were hiding too far away to see the license plate again. We do know it was an older model grey Dodge Charger with chrome wheels. We immediately called 911 to report the incident. This car was heading back to the Pokemon gym areas. It was the longest walk back to the car as we would all turn and look or stop at the sound of any engine that picked up any sort of speed. We were all pretty shaken up.
I met up with an older officer. He was very friendly. We all started explaining what happened and how we felt it was done on purpose. We know this was done on purpose. We just don’t know why it was us. We don’t know these people at all. There are two things that stick out to all of us in this situation. We were wearing our Team Mystic shirts and we were obviously playing the game. It’s kind of easy to tell who is playing and who is not playing when you are out and about. Especially when you stop near a landmark and wait for others to grab their items or catch a Pokemon that just popped up.
I felt the need to share this story with you all because we felt as though this guy targeted us because he hates the Pokemon GO game or he didn’t like the team we were on. Either way it was hate. Hate that was a bit scary. I am an overly cautious Mom. I never thought we would be targeted for playing this game or wearing a team shirt but we feel it was one of these reasons. It’s important people know this type of stuff happens so they can be aware also. We all tend to think that just because someone else is playing the game, they are friendly but that may not be the case. We all have to remember that their is hate in this world and we need to be careful when out after dark.
From now on we will not go out after it gets too dark. We may go out when the sun goes down a bit but not when it’s dark. It really didn’t matter that we used the buddy system or we were in a well lit area because this still happened.
That’s not the only thing scary we saw about this game either. One a previous night we found a Pokestop with a lure module placed on it. These lure modules only last 30 minutes. These lure modules can be fun because it makes it easier to catch Pokemon when they are active. We started to come up on an active lure module but it was behind a bunch off office buildings in a dark alley. The kids wanted to go but we knew better. There was a van parked with no lights on. There was a guy sitting in the passengers seat. There were just way too many red flags to even head in that direction.
These are they types of stories we need to talk to our kids about. We need to talk to our teens about this too. Remember, we looked like an older group! Most of us were older with the exception of my youngest who was with us.
One of my friends had an excellent idea. She said whenever you go out hunting you should have a designated scout. This would be a person that is not playing the game but basically watching your surroundings while you play and keeping you safe. Kinda like a designated driver when you go out for drinks but for Pokemon! What a great idea right?!
I am still a huge fan of the game. I think as long as we as parents set rules in place to keep our kids safe we will be okay. I don’t blame the game for these safety issues because this could happen anywhere or anytime you are out. If we play the game safely, we can still have fun. This experience has opened my eyes a bit to the hate that’s lurking around us. Don’t make yourself a target. I have learned not to play the game after dark and I probably won’t be wearing our team shirts after dark either.
I also want to say that I love how police departments are creating campaigns that help raise awareness about the dangers of playing the game. I think Pharr PD did an excellent job!
I think it’s great that the official Pokemon Go Facebook page is calling all “Jenny’s!”
Benefits to Playing Pokemon GO:
- Adventure! It’s just a super fun game.
- Exercise – perfect way to get out and get active without even thinking about it.
- Meet new friends!
- You might lose a few pounds while you get active
- Brings people together. It’s a great way to spend quality time with family and friends!
- Learn about the history in an area!
- Become a Pokemon Master!
I don’t want this article to be a discourager to playing this awesome game. I just want everyone to be safe with playing. I have heard a few teenagers tell me that it helps them with their anxiety and depression. Anytime we can get out and get active while having fun can only benefit our health and I’m all for that!
Here are a few Pokemon GO Safety Tips:
- Teach your kids to pay attention of their surroundings.
- Walk your dog while playing the game. This is a benefit to you and the dog!
- Make sure your child understands that not every place may be appropriate to play.
- Don’t go on private property for any reason.
- Don’t cross a dangerous intersection to get a Pokemon. It’s not worth it.
- Use the buddy system
- Only go in populated areas or open businesses if it’s allowed and not in dark alleyways.
- Wear appropriate clothing and walking shoes
- Bring water
- Be very careful if you choose to go out after dark.
- Don’t venture in to new areas in the dark either. Know the area so you don’t get lost.
- Don’t Pokemon GO and drive (this should go without saying)
- Don’t assume everyone playing the game is friendly.
- Be very careful when representing your Pokemon Team (Valor, Mystic or Instinct) You could be opening yourself up to be a target for people who hate the game or the team.
- Bring a portable phone charger as a back up. It will be one of the best investments you can buy.
Speaking of a good portable phone charger, this External Battery Phone charger made by RAVPower has charged multiple phones before having to be recharged. In fact, when I go to conferences I take this charger with me because I can recharge my phone all throughout the day if needed. I’ve had this exact charger for about 3 years now and it hasn’t failed me yet. Best charger ever and money well spent. My husband bought an Anker brand charger that failed after 6 months.
If you are still pretty new to the Pokemon GO game, we wrote this Pokemon GO Startup guide to help you out.
I just want everyone to have fun and play it safe!
Happy Pokemon Hunting!!! #TeamMystic