10 'Pokemon Go' Real World Dangers to Avoid

Pokémon Go is an addictive game app that can be a great way to encourage you to get out and walk and bike. In fact, you have to walk a mile or more in order to hatch eggs into monsters in the game. But it has inherent dangers for distracted walking and cycling. News reports abound of players getting injured, stumbling into trouble, or having the police called to investigate their suspicious behavior. Here are things to keep in mind before you leave the house and begin your Pokemon hunt.

1
Logging into 'Pokémon Go' With Your Google Account

Playing Pokemon Go
Playing Pokemon Go. Robert Couse Baker/Flickr/CC by 2.0

When you first log into the Pokémon Go app, you have the choice of creating or using a Pokémon Trainer Club membership or using your Google account login. ​While Niantic (which was developed inside Google) says they only access your basic information, you may not want to give this permission. If you signed in with Google, you can go to the Google security page and remove the app's access. You may have to wait for a slow internet traffic time to sign up for the Trainer Club instead.

2
Don't Be a Distracted Walker Playing 'Pokémon Go'

Distracted Walking
Distracted Walking. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Pokémon Go app encourages you to get out and walk and visit places of interest to capture virtual monsters, find PokéStops and gyms to gather items and train your creatures. But if you are looking at your screen and not the sidewalk, you run the risk of trips, falls, bumping into people and objects, and getting hit in the street or crosswalk.

One police department tweeted to Pokemon players, "Traffic isn't virtual, it's legit!" Impose rules on yourself and your fellow players that screens are down when you cross streets. Use the sidewalks rather than walking in the street. If you need to stop, pull out of the stream of traffic on the sidewalk so you aren't an obstruction.

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3
Don't Trespass While Playing 'Pokémon Go'

No Trespassing Sign
No Trespassing. Wendy Bumgardner ©

The Pokémon Go terms of service say, "You also agree not to use the App to violate any applicable law, rule, or regulation (including but not limited to the laws of trespass)...you will not enter onto private property without permission." There may be monsters, PokéStops, and gyms that are erroneously located on private property. Or they may be on public property with restricted hours.

Don't expect people to understand you are just playing a game. If you look like a threat to them, you may find yourself facing the police or a frightened homeowner, shopkeeper or security guard. These confrontations can turn violent, and it could be Game Over for you.

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4
Night Walking Safety While Playing 'Pokémon Go'

Close up sneakers on pavement during nighttime walk
Westend61/Getty Images

You may feel like a ninja dressing in black as you stroll the streets hunting Pokemon. But being invisible to traffic is a very bad idea. It's one of the easiest ways to die when walking after dark. Wear light colors and reflective items or a strobe light. You don't have to sneak up on Pokemon and you will look like less of a threat when you aren't dressed like a cat burglar. If you are walking in areas without street lights, carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp.

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5
Be on Guard at PokeStops and Gyms

PokeStop or Gym Players
PokeStop or Gym Players. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Are the others gathered at a PokeStop or gym there to capture and train Pokemon or are you the prey they are after? There are reports of players being robbed or attacked at these areas. You may want to do your gameplay only during daylight hours and accompanied by friends. Listen to your instincts. If somebody sketchy-looking is there, keep walking. Parents need to caution their children about possible pedophiles frequenting PokeStops and gyms.

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6
Don't Be Annoying or Threatening While Playing 'Pokemon Go'

Using a Mobile Cell Phone at Night While Walking
James Whitaker/Digital Vision/Getty

The Pokemon Go terms of service say, "You will not inflict emotional distress on other people, will not humiliate other people (publicly or otherwise), will not assault or threaten other people." If you are in a store or a park and trying to catch a rare Pokemon, don't toss off snide replies to store employees, other shoppers, passersby, etc. These can lead to verbal and physical confrontations. If you are gathered at a PokeStop or gym, keep your comments civil so you don't provoke a fight or have passersby call the cops on your group.

7
Don't Take Photos Willy Nilly

Playing Pokemon Go
Playing Pokemon Go. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Pokemon Go game encourages you to take photos of Pokemon in real life settings. But beware that people may not want to be in your photos. If children are in your photos, you may be accused of being a pedophile. Homeowners and business owners may feel threatened if you are taking photos of their house or store, thinking you are casing it for a burglary. Photography may not be allowed inside businesses,museums or churches.

8
Don't Run Out of Power or Data for Your Phone

External Power for Cell Phone
External Power for Cell Phone. Douglas Sacha/Moment Open/Getty Images

The Pokemon Go app is a power hog as it uses GPS and you may have the screen on for long periods. If you've roamed far from home on the hunt, you may find your battery drained. Now you'll have to navigate back home on your own. Do you remember how to do that? You won't be able to call mom, Uber, or 911. Bring along a spare power source to keep charged. You may also find you are hitting your cell data limits as you roam and incurring charges. 

9
Build Up Your Walking Time Smartly for Hatching Pokemon Eggs

Man Walking - Lower Legs and Shoes
MorePixels/E+/Getty Images

Besides roaming about hunting monsters and refueling at Pokestops, you'll have to walk a few kilometers continuously to hatch your Pokemon eggs. Here's how long you'll have to walk to achieve different distances in kilometers and miles. If you've been a couch potato, you need to build up your walking time gradually to avoid muscle strain and blisters. Start with 10 or 15 minutes and increase the time and distance over the course of days and weeks. You'll discover that good walking shoes can make your Pokemon hunt more efficient and comfortable.

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10
Playing 'Pokemon Go' in All Weather

Walking Through Puddle in Rain
Walking Through Puddle in Rain. Mike Harrington/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Pokemon Go may lure you out of your house in all kinds of weather. Be prepared for the elements. Learn how to walk in the rain, how to dress for cold weather walking, and be prepared for walking in hot weather. If you're going to go out in the ice and snow, you'll want foot traction cleats.

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