AS POKÉMON GO sweeps the West Midlands, the fire service urging gamers to play safe.
The latest gaming craze uses geo-location tracking on mobile devices and requires players to walk around their local area to find fictional Pokémon creatures.
An augmented reality is shown on the screen and shows the creatures pop up on the players screen, as if they were infront of them in real life.
The aim is for the player to then ‘catch’ the creature and add it to their collection, as well as being tasked with walking 2km, 5km or 10km distances to hatch eggs and to find rarer Pokémon.
But with reports of two men having fallen off a cliff in the US and a group of Wiltshire school children getting lost in a network of underground caves while playing the game, West Midlands Fire Service (WMAS) is encouraging local gamers to stay alert.
Pete Wilson, our Head of Community Safety, said: “It’s a great idea to make the game mobile and interactive.
“It’s a lot more social and gets people moving and exercising outdoors.
“But there are some obvious safety issues to keep in mind, especially as we expect so many children and young people to be playing it during the summer holidays.
“It’s not necessarily the case that you ‘gotta catch ‘em all’ – especially if it puts you in danger.”
WMAS tips Pokémon Go,
The game’s augmented reality is great fun, but always keep a close eye on your actual reality and surroundings:
avoid chasing Pokémon in the road and keep away from railway lines
never play games if you’re driving
take extra care around water
ideally, try to play the game with friends and avoid areas or situations which could be unsafe
Get Safe Online have more Pokémon Go web safety tips.