If you think you have noticed a lot of people walking around with their eyes glued to their phones in the past week or so, you are not wrong. Thousands of people have been using their smartphones to play Pokémon Go. The Pokémon GO craze is in full force and it does not show any signs of slowing down. The game was released July 6, and quickly became the most downloaded smartphone app in the United States. What exactly is this sensation taking the world by storm?
What is Pokémon GO?
Pokémon GO is a location-based, augmented reality game for iPhones and Android phones that blends the real and digital worlds together. Players create an avatar of themselves and try to collect virtual Pokémon using real time GPS on your smartphone.
Aside from the safety concerns- there have been reports of accidents and public nuisance- this game offers real health benefits. Players often walk for miles as they hunt for the next Pokémon character. The average player now spends 43 minutes a day on the game, which equates approximately 200 calories burned, depending on the person’s size and walking speed. You can collect eggs and the eggs will “hatch” by walking two to 10 kilometers (the game uses kilometer to measure distance). Many players walk in search of Pokémon, they end up covering a lot of ground in a day. As an additional challenge, certain Pokémon can only be caught by hiking uphill to find them.
The game’s makers urge users to not play Pokémon Go while riding a bike or hoverboard, or while driving a car or doing anything else that requires full attention. Although the usual warnings about the dangers of video game addiction apply, some players are reporting improvement in symptoms of anxiety and depression. For those who walk as they play, “Pokéxercise” can provide excellent health benefits.
Here are a few tips for players to stay safe:
· - Be alert at all times.
· -Stay aware of your surroundings — don’t venture in the virtual world where you wouldn’t in the real world.
· -Play in pairs or as a group in well –lit areas to ensure your safety.
· - Let others know of your plans and your whereabouts, when you plan to return and with whom you’re venturing.
· -Do not trespass onto private property or go to areas you usually would not if you weren’t playing Pokémon Go.
· -Do not drive or ride your bike, skateboard, or other device while interacting with the app- “you cannot do both safely”.
· -Understand that some people unfamiliar with the app may believe you’re a suspicious person.
· -Watch your battery life.
· -Look up when walking and stop walking to catch them — you’ll probably find it easier.
· -Be sure to follow your employer’s mobile use policy should you decide to download on a corporate device and/or play at work.
· - Know and abide by park and/or facility hours and play at appropriate times.
· - It’s just a game, and it shouldn’t threaten your real-life or the safety of those around you.