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Digital Parenting - Information on how to keep your children safe online


What is Pokemon Go?
Pokemon Go is an app enabling users to create a character and partake in a mobile version of the Pokemon game made popular through Nintendo.
The app uses Geo Location enabled through the phone to identify the users location. A map is then provided which shows nearby Pokemon. The basic premise of the game is to walk or ride towards the Pokemon in order to capture it and increase your game status. Characters are widespread and there do not appear to be rules as to where they can be found.
This is where players congregate to use their Pokemons to fight other Pokemons in the Gym in order to improve fighting skills and status. Players will come across Gyms during their travels, so could be anywhere.

The risks and what you can do to avoid them
As with everything a set of rules and honest conversation will avoid many of the issues and allow children to enjoy what is an engaging and fun game whilst avoiding some of the pitfalls.
Taking care around strangers whether Pokemon players or not. People we dont know are strangers, and we have to be careful around them, even if they are in a Pokemon gym or know where Pokemons may be hiding.
Considering and being aware of the dangers of your physical locality and considering the concerns of others whilst engaged in playing the game will be a start on dealing with the fallout from Pokemon Go.
Some of the early issues have been around environment awareness. It is very easy to become totally absorbed in capturing that elusive Pokemon but not being aware of the lamppost you are about to walk into or the ditch you have veered towards.
Finally, people looking at screens in public areas like shopping centers is not something new and is a regular sight. Small groups of children running around quiet cul-de-sacs phone in hand shouting about Squirtles, Vulpix and Jigglypuffs (Pokemons) may cause some issues and concern from people and explain how being sensitive to their surrounding can help avoid some problems.
As the game develops and more is known I am sure the makers and online safety experts come up with more advice, if necessary.

Sussex Police - Serving Sussex