With the release of the incredibly popular app Pokémon GO, smartphones are more visible than ever before in the hands of community members of all ages. In the interest of promoting a safe atmosphere to ensure students don't have their fun turn sour, the University of North Georgia (UNG) is asking all constituents, especially students, to take some precautions.
"As our students, faculty and staff have likely read, there have been some very serious unintended consequences of this game; parks, highways, businesses, churches, and private residences have been sites of near misses and terrible tragedy," said Dr. Janet Marling, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. "At this time, UNG has not placed any restrictions on playing the game on university property. However, should anyone choose to play, I ask that they be mindful of the safety tips offered by our own Department of Public Safety."
These tips include:
- Hazards such as traffic, stairs, and even other players could end your game early. Players are encouraged to enjoy the game in pairs or small groups.
- Keep an eye on real-life surroundings. UNG campuses are open to the public and hunters come in all varieties. If you see anyone acting suspiciously, please contact UNG police for assistance at 706-864-1500. Also, take care not to be lured to an unsafe location by the promise of a rare Pokémon. Be aware that some crimes have been committed by people actively seeking players who are not paying close attention to their surroundings.
- Stick to areas you are familiar with and do not trespass on private property. Playing the game is a privilege and not a right, so be respectful of other's property, including campus memorials and landscaping. Limit play after dark.
- Protect your personal information. Rather than using your regular Google account, you may want to create a new profile solely dedicated to the game.
"Our top priority is always the safety of our students and university members. We understand that the excitement generated by this game has made some players less concerned or aware of potential problems around them, but we want to encourage the UNG community to stay vigilant so that we may all continue to enjoy a safe environment on our campuses," said Justin Gaines, chief of police and director of public safety for UNG.