Pokemon GO is an awesome way to get off your lazy butt and have fun outside. Before you head out on your adventure you should learn a few basic safety tips, pack some essential supplies and don’t forget to change your underwear every single day.
To start, don’t stand in the middle of the street like this guy. Photos by iMorpheus.
Don’t Go Anywhere You Wouldn’t Feel Safe Going Normally
If you wouldn’t wander into a darkened alley at 3:00AM normally, don’t do it for that rare Muk. Pokemon GO might use landmarks and real-world places for things like Poke Stops and Pokemon Gyms, but the Pokemon themselves are mostly randomly generated. This means they can show up in backyards, behind fences or inside buildings. The game has no idea whether it’s safe or legal to go to those places, so use your best judgement.
Also, don’t go places where the game doesn’t belong. You don’t need to go to a police station, a hospital or a holocaust museum to catch Pokemon. In the game world, everyone may have nothing better to do than catch cute little monsters, but in real life you could be causing major disruption if you don’t mind your surroundings.
Additionally, if you’re planning to explore somewhere new, let someone know where you’re going and how long you’ll be there. If you want to go exploring at night, wear bright colours or reflective clothes so that others can see you.
Be Aware of How You Appear While Playing the Game
And pay attention.
This is a tough issue because unless you’re playing like a jerk, catching Pokemon is innocent, harmless fun. However, an onlooker who doesn’t know about the game (somehow) can get the wrong idea. That doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong to be in a public place, but you also can’t count on the other party to de-escalate a confrontation.
Pay attention to the people around you. Don’t loiter in front of someone’s house or a business where you wouldn’t otherwise loiter. If someone approaches you, be polite and explain the game. If you’re on someone else’s property and they ask you to leave, it’s probably better to comply rather than fight it.
Keep in mind that someone who doesn’t know or care about Pokemon GO could call the police (or worse) if you’re in the wrong place while black, or wearing the wrong clothes, or just because they don’t like the look of your face. It’s not your fault and it’s not fair, but a Pokemon game also isn’t worth pushing those limits.
Go Prepared With Supplies If You’ll Be Walking a Long Time
All that walking can add up. Bring some water.
Walking is a huge part of Pokemon GO, especially if you catch an egg. I recently picked up an egg that requires at least a 5km walk before it will hatch, and I already had a couple of 2km eggs to begin with. That’s over 9km of walking, during which I could find even more eggs. It’s really tempting to grind that out without paying attention.
If you find yourself in a similar situation and you’re not used to long hikes, take some water with you. Plan your route ahead of time and look for places where you can rest if you need to. The last thing you want to do is exhaust yourself before you realise that you have to turn back and do the same long walk all over again. Pokemon GO is a physical activity, so you should treat it like one. Stay hydrated, take breaks and don’t over exert yourself.
Keep An Eye on Your Stuff
Pokemon Gyms and Poke Stops are often found in highly populated areas where a bunch of players can gather together with their expensive electronics and have fun outside. That also makes them a pretty great place for a thief to find a target that has disposable income and is distracted by their smartphone.
You probably don’t need to be told to hang onto your phone while you’re playing, but you should be extra careful about all the other things you carry. Always hold onto your purse, backpack, laptop bag or anything else that holds valuables. It only takes a second for a thief to walk off with your bag because you weren’t paying enough attention.
Watch Out For Scams and Bad Actors On and Offline
Stick to exploring Poke Stops and Gyms in brightly lit, public places.
You may also encounter jerks who want to ruin the fun with scams or shady deals. We’ve already hear reports of people selling accounts or services online. One email hoax claimed you now had to pay a monthly fee for the game. Pokemon GO does have in-app purchases for in-game currency, but outside of that you should never have to give anyone any money to play this game.
Be careful about where you go in-person as well. In one case, armed robbers used lure modules on Poke Stops to attract players to secluded areas. Obviously, you can’t assume that every Poke Stop is a beacon for criminals, but if you have to go somewhere with low lighting and few people around to catch that Pikachu, maybe wait for your next opportunity.
Be Courteous to Those Around You
Meeting other people who play Pokemon GO is one of the most fun aspects of the game. That doesn’t mean basic courtesy should go out the window. If you approach someone and they give the impression that they don’t want to be bothered, leave them alone. Don’t trash talk someone you don’t know just because you’re Team Mystic and they’re Team Valor. Especially don’t assume someone’s playing the game just because they have their head stuck in their phone. Pokemon GO didn’t invent distracted pedestrians.
You should also be courteous to those who aren’t playing the game. Graveyards in particular can be home to a lot of Poke Stops and Pokemon. They’re open to walk through and aren’t quite as taboo as walking into a police station, but you can still disturb someone who’s there to grieve. Don’t interrupt or bother someone who’s using a real-world place for its intended purpose. A little courtesy can go a long way.