Pokémon Go goes global – but is it safe?
Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm, but just how safe is it? The app has captured the imagination of kids and adults across the globe. However, Greater Manchester Police is just one organisation that has expressed concern about the app’s GPS features, saying they could be endangering children as well as adults.
The force has issued a safety warning to parents over the download. Players use GPS to find and capture characters in their local neighbourhoods. Police are concerned that strangers could use the game to target vulnerable children and attack adults. The app enables users to set up a ‘beacon’, which encourages other players to visit certain venues. GMP are concerned that online criminals could use the game to attack victims.
Criminals have noticed
There are also fears about expensive phones being snatched by criminals. Teachers and parents are being urged to intervene and help youngsters enjoy the game safely. GMP are encouraging children – and adults – to play the game with friends in groups, hide their devices from public view and avoid playing it near busy roads. It’s said that children in the US have already been targeted due to the app.
Hours after Greater Manchester Police issued a warning, three students in Manchester were mugged at knifepoint whilst playing the game. The force is concerned that the game may be compromising the personal safety of children and adults alike. The students were robbed in the Hulme district of the city. The game blends virtual monsters with real world surroundings and has been downloaded by millions since its launch. Detective Superintendent Joanne Rawlinson of GMP said that “criminals move quickly to exploit the latest developments” in order to target victims and that Pokémon Go was already being exploited by a significant number of unscrupulous types.
Pokémon first became a global brand around the turn of the millennium, with users exchanging cards in order to collect points. Concerns about safety were raised within just a few days of the new download being issued, with a number of players being injured whilst out in public due to distractions caused by the game. Concerns about road safety has also been raised. The app’s creators have also been criticised for using locations including churches and graveyards as venues to catch Pokémon.