Pokémon Go can be great fun but we need to be aware of the risks too. Remember technology is not the problem its how we use it.
Pokemon Go is an app enabling users to create a character (any name) and partake in a mobile version of the Pokemon game made popular through Nintendo.
Once created the app uses Geo Location enabled through the phone to identify the users location. A map is then provided which shows nearby Pokemon. The basic premise of the game is to walk or ride towards the Pokemon in order to capture it and increase your game status. Capture is achieved by throwing a virtual ball on screen at the character, some of which are harder to catch than others. Distance away from the character is shown in footsteps (1,2 or 3) this was changed from the Beta version which originally showed true distance. Footsteps will decrease as you walk towards the character, once in the right area the character pops up and an attempt can be made to catch it.
Many of the original features of the Pokemon games are embedded and this will include Gym’s. This is where players congregate to use their Pokemons to fight Gym leader Pokemons in the Gym in order to improve fighting skills and status. In the new Go version players will come across Gym’s during their travels. If they have the necessary skill level and experience they can enter this virtual gym and take part in fights. There are popular virtual Gym’s where players will physically attend a location in order to fight. These can be anywhere but tend to be in public open well known spaces.
The key point is to remember the basics of online safety and keep endorsing then! Which are:
“Stanger danger messages are still applicable and teaching children not to be frightened but wary of strangers can be difficult in this setting”.
The above covers all areas on the internet online gaming, social media and webcams etc remember the basics and go from there. To an extent and within reason it does not matter where young people go online the above bullet points cover most areas. Below is some great advice from the NSPCC and the UK Safer Internet Centre all about Pokémon Go.
· Meeting people they don't know face-to-face
The game is designed to bring people together. Usually strangers. So you never know who they might meet.
· There's a physical risk
It's easy to forget to look where you're going with this game, but they need to be careful of where they end up. There are already stories of people being lured to places that aren't safe for children.
· It can cost a lot of money
There are in-app purchases and other incentives which can cost up to £79.99 (14,500 Pokécoins). Make sure the app's set up without payment options.
· Access to personal data
Pokémon Go asks for personal information like your child's birth date and email address, which they're asked to enter or receive through social media accounts. Parents have the right to contact the creators to stop them from using their personal information.
Pokémon Go is also causing the Police a headache as it is leading young people into unsafe areas such as building sites or derelict buildings so please keep reinforcing the safety message!.
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