New feature in game encourages kids to meet up with strangers???

 ” Hertfordshire parents are being warned about the potential dangers of the new Pokémon Go feature which encourages strangers to meet up to take part in Pokémon battles”. The latest updated to the widely popular app introduces Pokémon Raids – where 20 ‘trainers’ meet up in a real life location to take part in a battle to win rewards.

This means that players, who do not necessarily know each other and may not be the same age, will be brought together to battle Players receive a notification of Raid Battles happening nearby and can also use the ‘Nearby’ feature to find Raids happening around them.

They can either choose to be automatically matched with other players or join an existing group privately by clicking ‘Join Privately’ and providing a group code.

Net Aware are warning parents about the potential dangers to their child’s safety that the Pokemon Raids pose – particularly around meeting up with strangers.

The risks they identify are:

Meeting people they don’t know face-to-face – the Raids feature makes this more likely

Not being aware of their surroundings or area – it can be easy to lose track of where you’re going when trying to find Pokémon

In-app purchases – Pokémon Trainers get one Raid pass per day and must pay 79p per pass if they would like more.

Sharing personal information – Pokémon GO asks for personal information such as email address and a date of birth, which players are asked to manually enter or share through their social media accounts. This is so they can verify a child’s age, or parental consent if under the age of 13

You can read Pokémon GO’s safety FAQs page, request a removal of a Pokéstop or gym and report inappropriate game playing on this site.

Net Aware have also produced a list of tips to keep your children safe while playing Pokémon Go and the new Raids feature:

Talk to your child regularly about what they are doing online and the risks of meeting up with strangers whilst using this app. Let them know they can come to you or another trusted adult if they’re feeling worried or upset by anything they have seen.

Explore the game with your child. This game can be fun for everyone to play. Why not find Pokémon together?

Agree rules together as a family.For example, you could agree that the child will stay with friends or that your child will let you know where they are going.

Manage your technology and use the settings available to keep your child safe on Pokémon GO. You may want to turn off in-app purchases and set privacy settings. Visit our Pokémon GO guide to find out how to do this.

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