Pokemon GO has been a blast! Sure the game freezes when catching a high CP Pokemon, my GPS location gets “lost”, and I always seem to be “too far away” from a Pokestop, but I am still enjoying myself. Us Pokemon trainers have walked many miles and went through many Pokeballs to catch those very difficult Pokemon. However, I am a disturbed by the behaviors a lot of us are displaying, myself included. I have come across articles such as, “Pokemon GO Player crashes his car into a tree“, “Men Fall from cliff playing Pokemon Go“, and this one from my alma mater, “Pokemon Go players robbed on University of Maryland campus.” I stand firmly in the belief that Pokemon GO is a wonderful game in concept, but we are not in the reality to properly enjoy it. Anyway, it is here now, so we all have a duty to ensure that we are catching these virtual pets responsibly and safely. From my observations here are some bad behaviors that we should drastically change.
1) Please do not blindly walk through traffic staring at your phone
This is not just a problem that has occurred due to playing Pokemon GO, but a problem this internet connected society collectively needs to fix. It’s dangerous! It’s dangerous! It’s dangerous! You cannot catch that Pikachu while you’re in the hospital…or maybe you can!? That’s besides the point. Just be aware of cars before you cross the street and while you’re crossing it.
2) Walk in groups and play within crowds
Okay, so this is a little tricky. For those of us who are able to go with friends or other trainers please do so, especially at night. I would say go in a group of 4 or more. Again, this is all about safety. If you do not have companions to go Pokemon hunting with then you explore at your own risk. Just be vigilant! Personally, I walk with at least one friend during the day if I can and at least 4 or 5 if I Poke-hunt at night. For full disclosure, I do not do pre-plan hunting nights. It is always when I am already out that night with friends that we go out to catch Pokemon. Lastly, catching Pokemon in crowded areas such as a mall seems fine to do, but still be vigilant regardless of the location you are at.
3) Do not block foot traffic when catching Pokemon
It is just common courtesy to not stand in the middle of the sidewalk when you know there are other people walking behind you. To save battery, when you tap the screen to capture a Pokemon disable the “AR” (augmented reality) functionality. Disabling the AR function puts the Pokemon in a fixed position, therefore allowing you to capture the Pokemon as you are moving.
4) Do not leave your personal belongings unattended
Just the other night, I was catching Pokemon with friends at a very popular spot on campus. There were many Pokemon trainers out that night. As I sat slightly upset that my phone was dying I noticed that someone left their purse unattended on a bench. A whole 2 minutes went by before a woman came over with her kids to grab the purse and left. I believe it was her purse, but hey I will never know for sure.
5) Do not catch and drive.
Just don’t do it! If you have a passenger in the car, then let them keep track of nearby Pokestops and Pokemon. Endangering your life and others is not worth capturing virtual creatures.
6) Do not let team pride divide us.
I get it. People love seeing their team flourish which comes with the occasional trash talking about other teams. So far I have not seen a headline saying that an all out brawl occurred because someone did not put any #repseck on other person’s team. Though the memes are hilarious, let’s just keep it friendly.
7) Try to catch ’em all on public property not private.
Look. People are already on high alert and suspicious of everyone that walks by them. The last thing you want to happen is that you are being interrogated and/or arrested because you wandered onto school grounds or someone’s residence. Do not let the thrill of the hunt get you in trouble. Try to catch ’em all meaning Pokemon, not a court case.
I am sure there are many more behaviors that need to change, but these are the main ones I have witnessed and/or heard about. Unfortunately, robbers will still be out there ready to steal from players, but we can mitigate the risks of that happening by walking in big wolf packs. Now let’s play responsibly and safely. Peace out, there is a Dratini outside!