Pokémon Go has swept the nation! So many people are playing: from small children to older adults who remember the game from when they were younger.
Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based, augmented reality game. Basically, your goal is to go out and catch Pokémon with Pokeballs. You can battle these Pokémon at “gyms”. The main thing about this game is that you have to depend on real-life locations in order to play and to continue to play. Pokestops are where you will get more Pokeballs and other items to help your Pokémon. The Pokémon you can catch are all over the place. People can also set off what is called a lure in order to bring “wild” Pokémon to that location.
Because of the way that the game is played, there are some safety concerns, especially if you are playing on a military installation. Here are some safety tips for military families playing Pokémon Go:
- Do Not Walk and Play- With Pokémon Go, you want to catch the Pokémon in real time. However, just walking around with your face in your phone is not necessary and unsafe. You want to make sure you always know what you are doing and where you are walking. Like anything you do on your phone, try not to walk while you are trying to catch your Pokémon. The game alerts you when a Pokémon is nearby so all you have to do is walk with your phone in your hand or pocket and then take it out to catch a Pokémon when the game notifies you that one is around.
- Be Aware- When you are playing Pokémon Go, you need to be aware of where you are, where the cars are, and what you are doing. Just use common sense. If you would not feel comfortable being in a certain area with your eyes closed, be careful when you are playing Pokémon Go there.
- Stay Out of Restricted Areas- There are many restricted areas on a military installation. Stay out of them. It could be possible that there is a Pokestop or Pokémon gym in a restricted area. Just because there is a part of the game in a certain location, doesn’t mean you are allowed to be there. You should also make sure that you stay out of people’s yards to catch a Pokémon. The game is not worth ending up somewhere that you shouldn’t be and potentially getting hurt, arrested, or worse.
- Abide By the Rules of the Instillation- Certain military installations may have specific rules about Pokémon Go. Make sure you are aware of these rules before you start to play. You don’t want to end up in trouble because you didn’t know the rules.
- Stick to Open Areas- A good rule for playing Pokémon Go is to never go after a Pokémon in a place you wouldn’t normally feel safe going. If you would not go to the park at 11 PM, don’t do so just to catch a Pokémon. There are people who will take advantage of people playing, especially at night. Be careful and use your judgment. Sticking to open areas, parks, and trails that people use on a regular basis is a good idea.
- Teach Your Kids- If your kids have their own phones and want to play Pokémon Go, make sure they understand how to stay safe, too. This game is a good way to get out and meet other people but you need your children to stay safe if they are going to do so. Make sure they are old enough to know about strangers and what to do in public places. Otherwise, make sure you are with them when they play.
- Photographs- There are places on a military installations where photos are not allowed. Be very aware if you are playing Pokémon Go in these places.
- Rules for Service Members About Phones- It is against regulation for service members to walk and be on their phone at the same time. This rule includes Pokémon Go. Do not play in uniform. Save Pokémon Go for after work hours. Treat it like any other video game.
- Driving While Playing- You should never drive playing Pokémon Go. The game is an unsafe distraction. Driving while on your phone is also illegal on many military installations as well as certain states. You would not want to get pulled over and given a ticket just to get one Pokémon. If you have kids, you can give them your phone to catch Pokémon as you drive. It is a great way to give them more time to play when you can’t.
A lot of families are having fun playing Pokémon Go together. It’s important to stay safe while you are doing so and be aware of the rules around playing the game. You want to enjoy playing and have a good time without getting in trouble or hurt.
Julie is a blogger & social media lover living in Tennessee. She has been married for 13 years to her National Guard Soldier and has three boys, 11, 9 & 5. You can find her at Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life where she blogs about military life. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.