Appendix:Pokémon GO Player's Guide/Safety
While we are typically in full control of the worlds our Pokémon journeys take place in and the two-dimensional characters whose pre-determined dialogue we interact with, the very nature of Pokémon GO encourages you to venture out into the real world, where you will come into contact with other players and members of the public, so it's important you play in a way that is safe and respectful to others. Here is a selection of pointers to help ensure that you—and others—have the best possible Pokémon GO experience.
Driving: Don't play and drive
Do NOT under any circumstance play Pokémon GO while operating a vehicle. It will endanger the lives of yourself and others. In only the first two weeks of the release of Pokémon GO, reports have surfaced of individuals attempting to catch Pokémon while driving, whether a motor vehicle or even a bicycle. This has led to erratic driving, lane drifting, and even traffic collisions. Playing this game while you are operating any vehicle is like driving while under the influence of alcohol, or texting while driving. All of these greatly reduce your attention to the road.
If you use any sort of vehicle to assist with Egg hatching or traveling between PokéStops and Gyms, please only do so as a passenger.
Be aware of your surroundings
When starting up Pokémon GO, you will be greeted by splash screen advising you to be aware of your surroundings while playing. While you won't be stumbling into any angry Gyarados, there is a growing list of general safety precautions you have a responsibility to take for fellow players, those around you who aren't playing Pokémon GO, and for the property of others.
Interacting with your phone while walking
As you gain experience playing Pokémon GO, you will find it less necessary to be "constantly watching your screen" for new developments in the game. Not only will this help you be more aware of your surroundings in general, but it will make you less of a target for 'swipe and run' smartphone thieves. Although currently the game must be the active foreground app on your phone (and the screen must be on) to track your movements, you can walk without looking at the app at all, holding your phone firmly (even inconspicuously) in one hand. When a new Pokémon appears, you will get a phone vibration telling you so. When you are in range of a Pokéstop, you'll get a sound cue. Either way, it's best to alternate looking between your phone and the wide world around you.
If you prefer having your phone on hand, simply keep your eyes looking forward and only check it at intervals where it is safe and not obstructive to do so. If A Pokémon appears on your walking map, it's within range to capture, even if you're not in its exact indicated position. Make sure that you're not in the way of other people, or in an unsafe place when you stop to capture a Pokémon, swipe at a Pokéstop, or interact with a gym.
As the game matures, consider using the Pokémon GO Plus wearable accessory, so you don't have to refer to your phone as often.
Other general safety advice while exploring with Pokémon GO as a pedestrian:
- Respect private property. If a Gym or Pokéstop is on property with operating hours (such as dusk to dawn), or is on property you know to be private property, don't venture there. In many to most locales, this is trespassing, and in any case lack of respect in others' property will give Pokémon GO users a bad name.
- Bring an extra battery, or a USB battery charger. Pokémon GO burns through a battery. You don't want to run out of power, and then realize you can't call home or do anything else with your phone, because its battery is empty!
- Tall grass is dangerous. Be aware if you are wandering off a marked trail, that you may encounter things like poison ivy, bugs (the real type), snakes (also the real type), or unsafe terrain (such as a hidden ravine or cliff). Be very careful in these situations. If unsure, bring a buddy. Life and limb is never worth a Pokémon. Two San Diego residents were nearly killed falling off a cliff because they ignored a fence and were not paying attention to where they were walking.
- Sober Trainers are smart Trainers. Don't do alcohol or drugs and play Pokémon GO. It will affect your judgement for the worse.
- If it's the real thing: If you ever find yourself in a genuinely unsafe situation, or have found what you believe to be a crime scene, or criminal activity, leave the area if at all possible first and foremost. Call your local police or emergency services as soon as it's safe to do so.
Playing at night
While we generally advise against going out and playing Pokémon GO after dark, players who choose to do so must be especially aware of their surroundings and safety. You should stay in well-lit public areas in safe neighborhoods and ideally be wearing high visibility clothing. You should also be considerate of other people by keeping noise to a minimum and take care to not inadvertently draw suspicion to themselves. While playing at night, being a part of a group as opposed to by yourself is advised. Consider bringing a pocket flashlight for your own safety.
While it is important at all times of day, it is especially important to ensure your phone is sufficiently charged in case of an emergency, so carrying around an external power supply is recommended.
Exploration and the buddy system
While exploration is a key aspect of the game, it is important that you stick to locations you know are familiar with, and taking appropriate precautions in new places you aren't familiar with, or places known to have less than charming reputations. Especially in areas you are not familiar with, consider taking Pokémon GO walks with a buddy. If you're going to a place new to you, scout ahead to make sure it's a place you are comfortable going.
Playing Pokémon GO can look suspicious, when you are wandering around in a seemingly aimless way. Hanging around, looking, climbing, crawling can all get you noticed. You may be confronted by the police, private security, or a property owner. No matter which, be respectful. Explain and show them what you are doing if asked. Leave immediately and respectfully if asked to do so.
As you play Pokémon GO, it is highly likely that you will come into contact with other players and although the game has proven social advantages, it is important to respect each individual's own privacy and playing style. For example, like with MMORPGs, there will be players who love interacting with others but also those who prefer to play solo. It is our responsibility to ensure that our fellow Trainers feel comfortable while playing and be free from any situations they may deem uncomfortable or intimidating.
While Gym territory control is a key aspect of the game and a little rivalry between the three teams (Mystic, Instinct, and Valor) can be a healthy part of the fun, players should remember to keep competition civil and be accommodating of all players regardless of their allegiance. Sportsmanship matters to your fellow players, and for the reputation of Pokémon GO. For more information on interacting with players regarding Gyms, please visit our Gym Player's Guide.
Gyms and PokéStops
The majority of PokéStop and Gym locations are based on those submitted by users as portals for Ingress, Niantic's previous mobile game. This has led to some being in locations normally inaccessible to the general public such as schools and private property. While these areas may host an unoccupied gym or the Pokémon you've always wanted, you should avoid locations where you wouldn't normally be able to access legally—trespassing is a criminal offence. Players should also exercise discretion when playing near sensitive sites such as burial grounds, places of worship, hospitals, and memorials.
Should you encounter any issues with a Gym, PokéStop or feel that the designated location or landmark is inappropriate, you can submit a report to the game's developer, Niantic.
When used at a PokéStop, Lure Modules will attract Pokémon and thus players to that particular area for half an hour, with the location marked on your map. Players may leave these as a courtesy to other passing Trainers or because they expect to be in the area for a while, so they can be an ideal way of meeting other people and hopefully new friends.
Your experiences with PokéStops and Lure Modules will no doubt be happy ones, but just in case, you should exercise caution when deciding to approach one. We recommend sticking to those that have been pre-arranged with friends or are in safe areas within clear public view and avoid visiting those in unsafe areas or after dark.
If you notice any suspicious behavior around a PokéStop, we strongly urge that you report it to the relevant authorities.
By motivating players to go outside and explore, Pokémon GO can be a perfect source of exercise or companion to an existing regime, but while it's encouraging to see people so enthusiastic about hatching Eggs and exploring new areas, you should remember to be mindful of your body and not overexert yourself. If your legs start to ache for example, that's a sign that you should wind down your journey for the day. By keeping to a regular routine however, your body will gradually become more accustomed to walking greater distances, improving your overall physical health.
Players should wear clothing suited for the weather and comfortable shoes while exploring, as well as ensuring they remain hydrated. Sunscreen should also be worn if applicable—after all, Burn Heal is harder to come by in the real world!
Parents and guardians
While Pokémon GO will be nothing but a joyous and positive experience for almost all players, we strongly advise that all children and vulnerable persons be escorted by a responsible adult while playing the game. In fact, you could even use it as motivation to have a leisurely family stroll! If you let them venture out on their own or with friends however, we recommend setting a strict boundary of where they are and aren't allowed to go.
If you're worried about large, accidental bills owing to the game's microtransactions, you can activate Family Sharing on iOS or a Google Play Family Library on Android which, among other benefits, will require you to approve all purchases requests from your "family group", putting you in control of the spending.
Country and region specific advisories
Pokémon GO players in general should be aware of international boundaries if they are near one. Incidents of illegal border crossings due to inattention have been reported.
Trainers in Russia should take additional care in not playing near churches, voting sites and international borders, following strict warnings from the state-owned Rossiya 24.
|This article is part of Project Walkthroughs, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive step-by-step guides on each Pokémon game.|