GPS-based video games like “Pokémon GO” and “Ingress” blend the digital and physical realms, urging players to explore their surroundings.
While these games offer a unique form of entertainment, they also present unique safety concerns. Here’s a comprehensive guide to ensuring your gaming adventures remain safe and enjoyable.
1. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings
“The immersive nature of GPS games can sometimes cause players to become too focused on their screens, leading to a lack of awareness of their immediate environment. It’s crucial to remain vigilant, especially when crossing streets or navigating through unfamiliar areas,” advises the National Cybersecurity Alliance.
2. Respect Private Property and Restricted Areas
Games may inadvertently lead players to private or restricted areas. “Always respect private properties and do not trespass. Stick to public spaces to avoid any legal complications,” recommends Norton’s online gaming safety guide.
3. Play in Groups, Especially at Night
Playing with friends not only makes the game more enjoyable but also safer. “There’s safety in numbers, particularly during nighttime play. If venturing out after dark, choose well-lit, populated areas,” suggests the ConnectSafely guide for smart video gaming.
4. Manage Personal Information Wisely
Be cautious about the personal information you share within the game or with other players. “Avoid using real names or sharing identifiable details. Be mindful of location-sharing features within the game,” warns the Internet Safety guide by Kaspersky.
5. Keep Your Device Secure
Ensure your device is secure to prevent personal data theft. “Use strong passwords and enable remote tracking and locking features to secure your device in case it gets lost or stolen,” advises Clario’s online gaming safety tips.
6. Prepare for the Elements and Stay Hydrated
“Dress appropriately for the weather and stay hydrated, especially during warmer months. Your physical well-being is paramount when engaging in outdoor gaming activities,” states the Digital Trends list of best location-based games.
7. Use Reflective Gear or Lights at Night
To ensure visibility at night, “wear reflective clothing or use lights. Making yourself visible to drivers and others is crucial for your safety,” says the SafeSearchKids guide for keeping kids safe while playing video games.
8. Monitor Physical Strain
Be mindful of physical strain. “Listen to your body and take breaks as needed to avoid overexertion,” recommends the UK Safer Internet Centre’s top tips for gaming.
9. Be Cautious of Strangers
While GPS games can facilitate community building, they also open up interactions with strangers. “Exercise caution and meet in public places if connecting with someone you met through the game,” suggests the FOSI guide for online gaming safety.
10. Keep Emergency Contacts Accessible
Having emergency contacts readily available is a must. “Ensure your phone is equipped with emergency numbers and consider carrying a portable charger,” concludes the Columbia Engineering Cybersecurity Bootcamp’s online gaming safety guide.