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Pokémon Go What You Need to Know


If you, like me were a teenager in the 1990s yes the 90s – remember that? You might recall hits like “Nothing Compares to You” by Sinead O’Connor, ‘Genie In A Bottle’ Christina Aguilera or how about the Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’? ,Ooh yeah, we had some classic music in the 90s ☺.

So while we’re going all nostalgic, you might also recall the Pokemon Craze that crashed onto our Nintendo devices in the 90s. Now for those of you who’ve never experienced the delights of a Nintendo device or the world of Pokemon, here’s a quick overview:

The first of many, Pokemon was released in 1998 for the Nintendo GameBoy.
The player (known as a trainer) goes on journeys that involve traveling from place to place, catching and training Pokémon, the player battles against other Trainers’ Pokémon on a quest to become the Pokémon League Champion. Other goals and aims include catching and cataloging all of the many Pokémon within the game’s world. So that’s how it worked originally…

Fast forward to childhood in 2016 -.Enter POKEMON GO
The concept takes your real geographic location – and turns it into a game.

You can catch rats, dragons, swordlike creatures, claim them for your own and use them to fight against each other. All in a version of your real world environment.
What’s not to love?.

There are 2 big differences between the original Pokemon games of the 90s.
Pokemon Go is not for Nintendo’s handheld consoles. Instead it runs on iPhone and Android devices and uses augmented reality technology to merge your real world with the virtual world. It uses your phone’s GPS and clock to decide which Pokémon appear in the game. Players of Pokémon Go use their phones to capture virtual creatures which appear to be hovering in their immediate vicinity (your location) in the real world!. Say you’re in a park or city for example you’ll see the landmarks represented on your screen in the game. Easy to see why children (and some adults) love this game and why it’s gone viral!

Moving forward in the game involves collecting items such as ‘Poké Balls’ which are needed to catch monsters, and can be found at ‘PokéStops’. Players use captured creatures to fight other players at ‘gyms’. PokéStops and gyms are usually located in public places such as libraries, churches and landmarks flagged by the game on a digital map all available using the phone’s own GPS.

Safety Concerns with Pokémon Go

There’s been a number. These include the users using the GPS which creates the digital map to determine the location of the creatures and places to visit which could potentially lead or ‘lure’ young players into unsafe locations. One such example being reported in The Wall Street Journal, was that in O’Fallon, Mo., four teens waited at PokéStops in order to rob arriving players, police said. Law enforcement in the US have issued many warnings reminding users to be mindful while exploring.

In Sydney, according to an article in The Guardian, two 17-year-olds were caught driving at low speed, but driving nonetheless, while playing the game. Each were fined $325 and incurred four demerit points.

There have also been other concerns around those playing the game while crossing roads and busy streets with heads emerged in the game and failing to look up as they cross roads. According to law enforcement in Tasmania ‘Police have seen an increase in the number of calls about suspicious vehicles and behaviour and people driving while using mobile phones, with the explanation that drivers are ‘looking for Pokémon’. Police in the US echoed this saying the level of distraction playing the game while driving and crossing roads was ‘worrying’.

With Pokémon Go just released yesterday in the UK and still to be released in Ireland these concerns are real and worrying and something for Parents, Carers and future young users to be aware of. It’s important for players to keep alert and aware of their own safety when using the game and not to put themselves or others at risk.

Positives around the game are the sociability – getting outside and that Pokemon definitely encourages exploration of our environment. If you look up from your screen that is ☺.

I got my hands on a copy and am trialling it at the moment. I’ll keep you posted…

If you’d like more practical tips on how to stay safer online as well as protecting and managing your Online Reputation then grab a copy of my book.


Posted By Wayne Denner

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Wayne Denner shares his knowledge & expertise on leading tech industry blog.

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