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Pokemon fad prompts safety warnings

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/07/2016

"The Pokemon may be naked but you shouldn't be," ACC has told players of the just-launched Pokemon Go smartphone game.

Pokemon Go was launched in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States last week and allows players to discover and `catch' Pokemon in real-world locations.

The objective of the game is the same as every other Pokemon game: catch the creatures you encounter, battle against your friends and explore different environments.

While ACC has yet to receive any injury claims, it says minor claims have been reported overseas, as players walk into objects while focusing on their phones.

A spokeswoman reminded players to remain "situationally aware" and keep their phones by their sides while walking.

"Stay hydrated, wear suitable footwear and dress appropriately," she said.

"The Pokemon may be naked but you shouldn't be. It's cold out there."

Police have also urged players not to let their pursuit of virtual monsters get them into real-world strife.

Players have been going to extraordinary lengths to hunt Pokemon, such as two Wellington women who kayaked out into the city's harbour on their quest.

It's been credited with helping players exercise, as they walk many kilometres while engrossed in the game.

However it hasn't all been fun and games.

Four teens in the US state of Missouri lured nearly a dozen victims into armed robberies by using the app's geolocation feature to pounce on unwitting victims.

Reports also surfaced of a woman in the US finding a dead body while looking for Pokemon, while others have fallen off skateboards or walked into doors and trees.

Meanwhile, security fears have arisen over the app's full access to players' Google accounts, including Gmail.

The game was the most downloaded free app on Apple's app store while Nintendo's shares surged nearly 25 per cent for their biggest daily gains in history based on Pokemon Go's success

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