The Pokémon Go craze has hit Gedling borough and Nottinghamshire Police are reminding gamers to safe online following the release of the app.
The app, which is currently topping both the Apple and Android download charts, encourages gamers to discover in-game characters in the ‘real world’ using the location services on their smartphones.
Users travel to real world locations where Pokémon characters appear on-screen through their smartphones camera. Gamers can then attempt to catch each character and battle other gamers in the real world to progress within the game.
Now, ahead of the school holidays and the first weekend since Pokémon’s UK release where many are expected to download the app, Nottinghamshire Police is reminding children, their parents and even other grown-ups playing the game about the need to stay safe online.
Detective Inspector Pete Quinn from Nottinghamshire Police said: “We know that Pokémon Go is becoming hugely popular and while we absolutely do not want to discourage anyone from enjoying either this or any other social media safely, we just want to take the opportunity to take a moment to think about their own personal safety.
“The risks that this app presents are not new or unique and, as with any other social media, there is always the potential to put yourself at risk by letting your guard down and coming into contact with people you don’t know – both online and in the real world.
“We are also appealing to parents to have an open and honest conversation with their children who may be using the app to remind them about the potential risks, as well as making sure they know what apps their children are using, who they are speaking to online and where they may be travelling to use these apps.”
Nottinghamshire Police is also asking gamers to be considerate towards others after officers were required to respond to a report of torchlight being spotted in the south Nottinghamshire village of Normanton-on-Soar in the early hours of Tuesday (12).
Officers travelled on blue lights – their most urgent level of response – to investigate the report from worried residents where they discovered two teenage boys out searching for Pokémon. It was established that no offences had been committed.
Detective Inspector Pete Quinn added: “We also ask that people take a moment to think about their surroundings to make sure they are safe and consider how their actions could cause distress to more vulnerable members of our communities.”
Top tips for staying safe online:
- Don’t make yourself vulnerable to phone thieves: Stay with friends or family and always stay in busy, well-lit areas.
- Don’t trespass on private property, be aware of your surroundings and think about how your behaviour could cause distress to those around you.
- Be aware of your surroundings – particularly when crossing the road.
- Never use your phone while driving. This is a criminal offence and, if caught, you will be prosecuted.
- Let a friend or family member know where you’re going, who you’ll be meeting and what time you’re planning to come home.
- Explore together – parents should consider playing the game with their children to help understand how it works together