Be aware when playing Pokeman Go
It's the latest craze and news outlets are reporting on a number of incidents involving players of the very popular Pokemon Go, including near-misses between cars and pedestrians and youths being fined after playing while driving, crowds of players allegedly being waterbombed by residents near a park in Sydney’s west and players allegedly being robbed at gunpoint in a southern Sydney park.
These reports highlight a number of risks that players may unnecessarily subject themselves to when playing the game. We recommend that if you play Pokemon Go or other similar games, you familiarise yourself with these risks and endeavour to avoid them at all times.
Pokemon Go enables players to catch Pokemons that appear on smartphone screens in real-world surroundings.
How to Stay Safe
If you are playing the game you are advised to remain aware of your external environment and to pay attention to all warnings from police and other government authorities.
Tasmania Police has warned players to ‘never Pokemon and drive’, pointing out that it is ‘not legal or safe to drive while using a mobile phone,’ and ‘when chasing Pokemon on foot, please look up, pay attention to your surroundings and watch where you are going. Be alert when crossing the road and never stand in the middle of busy roads.’
Tasmania Police added that players 'should not go onto private property or areas they would otherwise not go if they weren’t playing the game.’ In a similar warning on Facebook, Western Australian Police advise players that ‘I was collecting ‘Pokemon’ is not a legal defence against trespassing.’ The Western Australian service also advised players to 'tell their families when they were going out, where they were going and when they expected to be home.’
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Office of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner (OCeSC) have jointly advised of risks such as:
- locations that could be unsuitable for young players and also adults
- child players being too young to play the game unsupervised
- interacting with others who are not suitable for the child
- walking while looking at a phone while playing.
If you've children, like me - good luck! My two try and get me to drive the streets while they look for Pokemons.
About the Author
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