‘Pokémon Go’ – How Safe Are You?

Are you safe while playing Pokémon GO?

Niantic’s free App has taken the world by storm. People are coming together in local parks and downtown locations like never before. The Pokémon themed, augmented reality game has become a driving force for local clean-up projects, exercise events, and an overall sense of unity among its player base. Which sounds like a great thing! And it would be. If they weren’t constantly having obscenities screamed at them, eggs thrown at them, and getting harassed by drunk people. I know all of this, because I interviewed some of the community last night, and was yelled at 10 seconds into the first interview. See for yourself.

Sometimes I forget what year it is, because I feel like in 2016, we should have evolved beyond racism, hate, or derogatory slurs against a peaceful group of people. Except none of that is true. Which was made perfectly clear when myself and two friends, were screamed at while we had literally just started playing ‘Pokémon GO’. And reminded again when I was only 10 seconds into my first interview and heard someone scream, “F**k ‘Pokémon!” while driving past.

So I began reaching out to local Pokémon GO trainers via their various Facebook pages, asking what kinds of things they had experienced and whether or not they felt safe. Jordan Jeffries, a local trainer out of Ohio, told me about his concerns for the game.

I really don’t feel safe alone,” said Jeffries. “Also there [was a] situation where a biker was offering drugs and trying to ask for drugs at the same time. Not in any case do I feel safe when drugs are by.”

Jeffries went on to say that whenever he heads out, he makes sure to have one or more people go with him, just for the sake of safety. But he wasn’t the only one, by far. You might have heard of the group of robbers using Lures to draw Pokémon GO players to a stop, and then attack them. But several local police department have issued safety tips for players. A couple stand outs were:

-Slow moving vehicles paralleling a person on foot (Following you as you walk), might be a sign it is a get-away car. If you get the sense you are being followed or set-up for a robbery, head to a lighted area with people around.

-Know where your kids are going when playing with the app, and set limits on where they can go.

-Do not try sneaking around police stations, fire stations or public safety vehicles. Your attempts to capture a Pokémon could be considered suspicious activity.

The main thing is to obviously stay safe. It isn’t worth risking your safety over a free game. Or any game for that matter. Safety or not, it just seems that most Pokémon trainers are just frustrated and disappointed in the people yelling at them.

“We were downtown and a guy stopped at a red light yelled ‘get a f**king life.’” said, Kellee Carbaugh, a local trainer.

I’ve only ever had someone cussing at the group,” Landon Cooper told me. “And hey, if that’s what makes these people feel complete, then I feel sorry for them.”

While it is disappointing to say the very least, I am please to say that the community seems unified in protecting one another, and not giving up on having a good time.

Have you had any of these issue while playing Pokémon GO? Would any of this keep you from playing? Let us know!