“Pokemon Go,” a virtual reality game for mobile devices that allows players to hunt for Pokemon in their surroundings, has become a global phenomenon, amassing millions of daily active users within days of its launch.
However, like most virtual reality games, “Pokemon Go” is absorbing and addictive, and has the potential to put your child at risk of harm.
Fortunately, protecting your child against the dangers of playing “Pokemon Go” is easier than you might think.
11 Tips to Help Your Child Stay Safe When Playing “Pokemon Go”
1. Be aware of surroundings
Remind your child of the importance of being aware of his or her surroundings and alert to danger. Your child does not have to stare at their phone while searching for Pokemon creatures, an alert will sound off if a creature is nearby.
2. Play in groups
Encourage your child to play “Pokemon Go” in pairs or as a group. There’s safety in numbers. Even better, make Pokemon Go time family time and play the game together.
3. Don’t multi-task
Warn your child not to ride a bike, scooter or skateboard while playing “Pokemon Go.” It seems like a common sense thing, but kids don’t always think through every action and the associated consequence. It’s better to remind them, even if they roll their eyes at you!
4. Respect others’ property
Remind your child not to trespass onto private property or venture into areas that he or she wouldn’t usually venture into. It may also be a good idea to check with your insurance agent if you are covered against any financial losses that may result from your child causing damage to other people’s property and possessions.
5. Be careful around strangers
Tell your child to never go off with or take things from a stranger at a Pokestop. This is probably the scariest and the most intriguing aspect of the game – human interaction. Although the concept of meeting new people with similar interests is a great one, not every Pokemon Go player has innocent intentions.
6. Be alert to suspicious behavior
Teach your child how to identify suspicious behavior and how to react if threatened. Because the game is so engaging, it may be easy for your child to miss simple signs of suspicious behavior. Doing a bit of role-playing with your child may help them identify this behavior more easily.
7. Follow a safety plan
Show your child safe places to play, safe paths and roads to take, and safe places to go if he or she feels in danger. Although the game can take you anywhere, it’s important to set strict parameters. You can even go old-school and pull out a map!
8. Increase your visibility at night
Encourage your child to turn up the phone’s screen brightness and wear reflective clothing to increase his or her visibility when playing “Pokemon Go” at night. Or a better idea may be to limit night time play altogether.
9. Keep a low profile
Remind your child that regularly displaying his or her mobile devices in public increases the risk of theft. It may be a good idea to check with your insurance agent if you are covered against off premises loss, damage and theft.
10. Have a backup plan
Encourage your child to carry an extra battery pack for the phone in case the battery dies while he or she is out playing “Pokemon Go.” Playing the game for an extended period of time can wipe out the battery in a matter of hours, potentially leaving them stranded on unfamiliar ground.
11. Be aware of information sharing risks
Help your child to identify and avoid rogue apps claiming to enhance the “Pokemon Go” experience. These apps may capture sensitive data or damage mobile devices. Check with your insurance agent if you are covered against these risks.
Protecting your child against the dangers of playing “Pokemon Go” doesn’t have to be difficult. By following the basic safety rules above and ensuring you have the right insurance coverage to protect you and your family from the unexpected, your child can enjoy this popular game and you can rest a little easier.
To find out more about how insurance can help protect you and your family, please contact us today.