Pokémon Go is such a phenomenon that it has already surpassed Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram in terms of daily time spent per user.
The popularity of the game hasn’t come without some issues—falls, pedestrian and road-related Pokémon Go-related injuries in the US have been documented.
Children are especially at-risk. "All children make silly mistakes sometimes. They just don't have the ability to judge speed and distance in terms of oncoming traffic and obstacles. Often they are also distracted with mobile games or music which is a dangerous mix,” said Ann Weaver, Safekids Aotearoa Director.
“As parents, it’s important to remind children to be aware of their surroundings, and to follow road and pedestrian rules,” Ms Weaver added.
Below are Safekids Aotearoa’s Pokémon Go hunting safety tips to make sure the kids are Pi-ka-chu (alright).
Follow the law. Remember that the Pokémon universe and ours are mashed together, and rules apply to reality and the app. If you are cycling to a Pokéstop or gym, always wear a helmet. When crossing the road, use a zebra crossing and look out for cars. When the area is off limits or closed, do not enter it.
Hunt in a safe Pokémon habitat. It’s hard to ignore Pokémon that live around buildings, roads and train stations, however it’s safer to take the kids to parks and beaches to catch ’em all.
Heads up, devices down when walking and crossing the road. Pokémon can spawn anywhere and anytime—and if you’re not paying attention, a sign post or a car may appear out of thin air too! Remember your phone vibrates when a Pokémon is around, so put your phone down when walking.
Be a good role model. There are enough zumbats and wild pidgeys for everyone. Teach kids to respect others while they play Pokémon Go.
Adult supervision. You may not be able to tell the difference between a Venonat and a Koffing, but adults must still play a part. Keep an eye on children and teach they to play safe.
To understand Pokémon terms and monsters visit the Pokédex and Bulbapedia. For more pedestrian and road safety tips, visit www.safekids.nz.
For a humorous take on a Pokémon Go player who prioritises “catching 'em all” above safety, watch this video from Comedy Central https://youtu.be/XuaVjOEhZos