NSPCC claim Pokemon Go UK release is unsafe for children

Thomas Wellburn
July 14, 2016

Child protection charity the NSPCC is worried that the Pokemon Go UK release could be used as a potential gateway by those who wish to harm children.

Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm since its initial release, already gaining more registered users than the entirety of Twitter. The title sees players taking part in an augmented reality world where they need to wander around real places in the search of Pokemon. Unfortunately, it’s also gained a lot of negative attention for being the perfect tool to attract criminals and child predators.

With the Pokemon Go UK release now officially underway, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has stepped in and released a written statement urging immediate action from Nintendo to make the platform safer. NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless contacted Pokemon Go’s creators personally, urging them to guarantee the game will have safety measures to prevent adults using it to prey on children.

“Since launching last week, there have been numerous reports of children being placed in dangerous situations as they play the game, which has players hunt down Pokemon characters using a virtual map imposed on a real one.”

Only recently, a 19-year-old girl in Wyoming discovered a dead body in a river while playing Pokémon Go over the weekend. There’s also reports of criminals using it to lure mugging targets and rob buildings, plus people’s houses unknowingly becoming gyms…

NSPCC has some suggestions for Pokemon Go UK release

We got in touch with the NSPCC asking them to clarify what exactly Nintendo can do to make things safer. They provided a list of suggestions that they would like to see implemented by the creators:

·         Safety reminders to children about going to spots which other users have flagged up

·         Default-off privacy and location controls for under-18s

·         Easy reporting functions for players who have any worries

The charity also encouraged parents to discuss the game with their child, explaining the risks and potential dangers of the title. This includes such topics as who they play the game with, whether they play the title alone and rules about specific areas where it is safe to use the game.

Pokemon Go launched officially in the UK earlier today, after a brief early release in New Zealand and Australia. You can get your hands on it now in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

For more news visit What Mobile’s dedicated news page


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