Pokemon Go has gotten as much, if not more, attention than the presidential race this month. Since Pokemon Company released the free app on July 6, Google Play alone has seen more than 100,000 downloads.
The game allows players to capture Pokemon in real-world locations. The app makes characters appear on your smartphone's camera screen while you walk through your neighborhood. If you thought walking and texting was dangerous, walking and Pokemon-Going is even more hazardous. Users have reported trips to the ER, fractured bones from falls, and any number of scrapes and bruises, all because they were watching their phones and not where they were going.
To avoid becoming another Pokemon casualty, follow these common sense safety tips:
1. Don't Pokemon Go and drive. Please. If you're not supposed to text and drive, you're not supposed to play a game and drive. Don't do it.
2. Look up. If Pokemon invades your neighborhood, look up from the screen every few seconds while you chase monsters. Focus too intently on the characters, and you may find yourself falling into a ditch or tripping over a rock.
3. Don't Pokemon Go in crosswalks. Motorists don't know when a creature appears on your phone, nor do they care. Cross in the crosswalk, with the green light and signal, with your phone in your pocket. Please don't stop in the middle of the road to look at the screen. Wait five seconds until you have crossed to the sidewalk.
4. Don't Pokemon Go alone. It's best to explore new neighborhoods with a friend whether you're going for a walk or playing the game. Pokemon Go rewards people that play together, so buddy up!
5. Don't Pokemon Go at night. A player in Oregon was stabbed while playing the game at night. Police in Missouri said a group used the game to rob people. If you must play at night, stay in populated, well-lit areas. And play with a friend (See #4).
6. Don't trespass. Don't wander onto someone's private property for the sake of the game. You may find yourself yelled at, shot, attacked by a guard dog, or sued.
The world is going wild over Pokemon Go for a lot of reasons: it's a fun challenge for people to catch their favorite monsters in a real-world setting. It gets people outside and even brings people together in new ways. But if you want to keep playing Pokemon Go long enough to catch all the critters, obey a few common sense rules.