UK charity NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) has issued a statement regarding Pokémon GO, claiming that the new smartphone app could place children in danger.
The warning follows reports that criminals have been using the game's "lure" feature to entice players and rob them at gunpoint.
The NSPCC has urged the makers of such apps to protect children by providing warnings about their privacy and giving away their location. While Pokémon GO does flash up a warning about "being alert" and generally not walking into things as it loads, it doesn't currently warn users about any other risks - which it probably should. To break briefly into first-person, I've seen some children playing the app at my son's school here in the UK.
Here's the statement:
Given its massive popularity with children it's worrying that this game appears susceptible to being hijacked by those who may wish to harm them.
When creating these games companies must consider the potential risks to young users and do everything they can to make sure their app doesn't put them in danger.
Manufacturers can help protect children by giving them safety reminders about privacy and location controls and make it easy for them to report things that worry them. It is also important for parents to stay aware of what their children are using online and talk to them about how to stay safe.
Elsewhere in the UK, much-maligned newspaper The Daily Mail has gone as far as to ask if Pokémon GO is "the world's most dangerous game", claiming that:
...there are now claims that the app could be used for something more sinister altogether - such as paedophiles using the 'lure' element of the game to trap distracted children.
Other UK papers have picked up on the negative angle to this story, leaving The Mirror as one of the sole positive voices:
Video games, rightly or wrongly, are often associated with laziness - someone tucked away in their room, curtains drawn and surrounded by empty pizza boxes, but Pokémon Go seems to be reinventing the way people view gaming.
The irony here is that Pokémon GO isn't even available officially in the UK as yet - that should be happening in the next few days - but if you've followed our guide, you can install in wherever you happen to be in the world. Just don't do anything we wouldn't do, like walk into oncoming traffic or venturing out in the dead of night to catch 'mon.