Pokèmon Go, Safety, And Insurance?

By Dshanya Reese

On July 7th, Nintendo released their augmented reality (mixed virtual/real world) game, Pokèmon Go. Players are encouraged to explore their cities in search of virtual “pocket monsters” by using their smartphones. The game has a number of positives. Neighbors are now actually meeting each other as they have a common goal – elusive Pokèmon. Pedometer wearers are seeing record numbers on their devices as they are getting off of their couches. In a matter of days, Nintendo has seen a $7 billion (!!) increase in market value just by the launch of one virtual game. This type of success means we’ll see more.

So why are we at Watkins Insurance Group concerned?

In all of the excitement of hunting for these virtual monsters, people are forgetting basic safety rules. To not miss hiding monsters, players are not taking their eyes off of their phones. They are going into unfamiliar areas and even wandering into traffic. Criminals are also taking advantage of the distracted. In Missouri, a group of Pokèmon Go players walked into a trap set by armed robbers. The robbers didn’t have to work very hard to set the trap. They merely waited at a location where there was a virtual pocket monster. A few reminders for our clients:

Look up from your phone on occasion! Gathering PokèBalls isn’t worth the twisted ankle or being hit by an automobile.

If you are traveling by vehicle, you should not be the person with your eyes on the phone. While you may be hands-free, this is still distracted driving! 1 in 5 auto crashes in Texas involve a distracted driver.

Be mindful about trespassing on private property.

Safety comes in numbers. Travel with friends.

If you are playing in the evening, make sure the area is well lit and you are familiar with your surroundings.

Don’t announce on social media that you’re away from your home or car. That’s an invitation for theft.

As with any mobile app, only download from reputable app stores like Apple App Store or Google Play. Downloading from other sources can make your device susceptible to malware, phishing scams, etc.

Have fun. Stay safe. We’ll see you at a PokèStop!

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