Pokemon Go in Edinburgh: How to make sure your children know the dangers

Pokemon Go game in Edinburgh's Grassmarket looking up to Edinburgh Castle. July 13 2016.

Pokemon Go game in Edinburgh's Grassmarket looking up to Edinburgh Castle. July 13 2016.

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Pokemon Go will have most people beyond their teenage years scratching their heads, wondering just what is going on.

For the uninitiated, the craze which hit the Capital yesterday is a mobile phone game which involves chasing Japanese cartoon characters around the city, in an effort to catch and train them. The Pokemon characters don’t exist, of course, apart from on the mobile phone of whoever is playing. Players, however, have to travel to real locations all over Edinburgh, and others cities and towns, before they can find them. Are you keeping up so far?

Another thing about Pokemon is that it is a global phenomenon. It is so popular that it has added millions of pounds to the value of Nintendo, the computer games company which part owns it.

It also saw thousands of people, mainly teenagers and young adults up to about the age of 25, flock to locations all over the city where Pokemon can be found. Hot spots included Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat and Waitrose in Comely Bank.

As with so many crazes in the past, Pokemon Go has come with its own safety concerns.

Will people who are busy watching their phones for cartoon characters end up injuring themselves by walking into a busy road or slipping on the steep paths of Arthur’s Seat?

The biggest concern, however, centres around the way the game encourages players to converge at locations – known as gyms – where their Pokemon can take part in battles. The potential opportunities this throws up for anyone wanting to bond with youngsters in order to do them harm is obvious.

As with other risks that come with children of an impressionable age going online, the best advice is to make sure they are aware of the dangers. If they are going out to play Pokemon Go, far better they do it with their friends and some healthy caution.