10 Things You Should Never Do While Playing ‘Pokemon GO’

Are you playing Pokémon GO? Of course you are. Based on the sky-high level of buzz alone, that seems to be what everybody is doing these days: wandering around, staring at their phone, catching Zubats and Geodudes, stocking up on PokéBalls, and walking miles to just to hatch eggs. Pokémon GO may not be the best game out there, at least in its current state, but it sure is a bonafide phenomenon.

But it’s also a kind of newer game most people haven’t experienced before. It’s an augmented reality, location-based game that encourages players to get off the couch and go out and explore the real world. And anything can happen when you walk out your door, especially if you’re using a game as a guide. Here are 10 things you should never do while playing Pokémon GO.

1. Go to dangerous locations

Pokemon GO

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The game has a built-in map, but it doesn’t know which areas around you are safe and which are dangerous. If you blindly wander wherever the game tells you to find Pokémon, there’s a chance it will lead you into construction zones, dangerous parts of town, or onto the property of unfriendly people.

Several stories to this effect have made national news lately. In Palm Coast, Florida, a man opened fire on two teens who were in a car playing the game late at night because he thought they were thieves. Luckily, the only damage done was to the car.

In O’Fallon, Missouri, a group of crime-minded teens placed a Pokémon lure at a PokéStop in order to attract hapless players to the location. When players showed up, the teens used a gun to mug them. They managed to rob nearly a dozen players before the police came and arrested them.

In other words, mind your surroundings when playing the game.

2. Trespass at a zoo

An armadillo eats a corn cob

An armadillo eats a corn cob | Holger Holleman/AFP/Getty Images

In Toledo, Ohio, a man and a woman were arrested in the middle of the night after jumping the fence to get into a zoo to catch Pokémon. “It wasn’t the most responsible thing to do, but hey, gotta catch ’em all,” Ms. Bartholomy said in an interview with The Blade. As she spoke to the reporter, she was holding a Pokémon stuffed animal.

3. Disregard your surroundings

People on smartphones

David Ramos/Getty Images

Moving through the world can be dangerous if you’re not looking where you’re going. Two men in Encinitas, California discovered this recently when they were searching for Pokémon near the ocean. With their eyes focused on the screens of their phones, they both walked off the edge of a 90-foot high cliff. Amazingly, the two men survived and are currently recovering.

Even if you’re not playing near 90-foot drops, other dangers are probably in your environment, from cars to stairs. Keep an eye on where you’re going.

4. Be shy

friends hanging out around the grill at a cookout

Source: iStock

Pokémon GO is a social game. It’s all about going out into the world and encountering not only Pokémon, but also other people. People have been gathering in massive numbers in public spaces like Millennium Park in Chicago and Central Park in New York City.

But you don’t have to live in a major metropolis to chat up other Poké-players. You’ll find PokéStops at parks, churches, pizza places, public art, and many other notable areas near you. If you see someone else playing, chat them up. Chances are, you’ll have more in common than just a fondness for Pikachu.

5. Stay inside

Man happy to be outside in front of van

Source: iStock

By the same measure, go outside while playing Pokémon GO. Some people are lucky enough to live in busy Poké-places, meaning they can stock up on supplies while lying in bed and catch Bulbasaurs in the bathroom. Even if you’re one of those lucky players, you’re not getting the most out of the game. The game itself isn’t all that great unless you go out and participate with it in public.

6. Spend money recklessly


Source: AMC

The makers of Pokémon GO have said they’ll soon begin partnering with businesses to let them become PokéStops and gyms in hopes of luring customers to their stores. Some businesses are already buying in-game Pokémon lures to attract Pokémon (and thereby players) to their locations, and in many cases sales are spiking because of it.

That’s all well and good, but players should be smart with their money. Don’t spend it just because the game brings you near a Starbucks or a McDonald’s.

7. Run down your phone battery

Pokemon GO uses a lot of battery

Mark Knapp/Entertainment Cheat Sheet

Thanks to its liberal use of your phone’s GPS receiver and its requirement that your screen be on to play, Pokémon GO almost seems like it was designed to drain your phone’s battery. Don’t let this game kill your phone. You never know when you’ll have an emergency and need to call someone. You never know when a friend or family member will need to contact you. While playing the game, be sure to keep an eye on your battery life. Have the fortitude to close the app when the battery bar turns red.

8. Drive

A man drives while playing Pokemon GO.

Source: Department of Safety and Homeland Security

They say texting while driving is more dangerous than driving drunk. Playing Pokémon GO while driving is equally stupid. Don’t do it. If you feel the need to cruise around to grab up all the Pokémon in your neighborhood, get someone else to drive you. It could save a life.

9. Play in inappropriate locations

Memorial Day

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Don’t be disrespectful just to play a silly game. Officials at both the Arlington National Cemetery and the United States Holocaust Museum have had to make announcements requesting people refrain from playing Pokémon GO while at these revered sites. In a tweet, a spokesperson for Arlington National Cemetery said, “We do not consider playing ‘Pokemon Go’ to be appropriate decorum on the grounds of ANC. We ask all visitors to refrain from such activity.” Seriously, think before you play.

10. Get arrested

Police stand guard before the mandatory midnight curfew on August 16, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. The curfew was imposed on Saturday in an attempt to reign in the violence that has erupted nearly every night in the suburban St. Louis town since the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 9.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

A Pokémon GO player in Milford, Michigan, who happened to have a warrant out for his arrest, rode his bike to a nearby Pokémon gym before realizing that it was located at a police station. Several officers recognized the man, so they arrested him on the spot.

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