What is Pokemon Go?
Pokemon Go is an Augmented Reality (AR) game where players walk around the real world and catch Pocket Monsters (Pokemon). There are 150 Pokemon in total and the aim is to catch them all by ‘throwing’ a Pokeball at them through a swipe on your phone screen.
The App uses the GPS in your phone to show where you are in the real world through a map. Some Pokemon will only appear in certain areas such as fields, near water and in built up areas. Pokemon can be captured using a Pokeball or ‘hatched’ from an egg — you will need to walk a certain distance to hatch your egg, either 2km, 5km or 10km.
Pokemon Go WILL require a player to travel to different locations in order to catch different Pokemon, especially if you live in a village or a small town.
Do age restrictions apply?
Yes, you need to be over the age of 13 to set up an account. The app does allow a parent to set up an account for their child to use if they are not 13 yet. You can either set up an account by using your Google email address or by setting up a Pokemon Trainer account — both of which have a 13 age requirement.
Are there any privacy settings/controls?
The app doesn’t currently offer any online chat facility. You are asked to set up a username but this cannot be seen by other users unless you leave one of your Pokemon at a gym. You are represented in the game through an Avatar (a digital character) which can only be seen when one of your Pokemon occupy a gym. The App will track where you go through the GPS location and will also store the users name, age and email address.
It’s also important to note that Pokemon Go, like many other ‘Free’ mobile games, has it’s own virtual currency to enable players to purchase additional Pokeballs as well as other items which help players. Pokecoins can be earned by taking over a Gym (although only a small number of coins are on offer) or by purchasing them through the App.
Always ensure that you have set your smartphone to ask for a password for every purchase, otherwise it may end in a very expensive phone bill!
If you have concerns about the immediate safety of a child, you can call Lincolnshire Police on 101 or, in an emergency, dial 999