With the Pokemon GO craze in Malaysia going overdrive. The nice people at Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has issued safety guidelines for Pokemon Go players, warning players and parents that the game collects and shares the personal data of its users.
"The game requires you to register and share personal information, including information from the phone's Global Positioning System. Consider whether you are willing to share such personal information, and parents should be aware that their children's data is collected as they play Pokemon Go," said the MCMC in a press release on Wednesday.
It added that people playing Pokemon Go should be aware of online and offline fraud while playing the augmented reality game.
"Be careful of fake and suspicious mobile applications that are offered to you. Such applications could be malware or expose you to hackers," added the MCMC.
The MCMC also advised players to be mindful of how much money was being spent while playing the game as there were incentives to encourage players to spend up to USD99.99 (RM403.86) to buy 14,500 PokeCoins.
It also advised gamers to be mindful of how much of their data plan was being consumed by Pokemon Go and to carry a power bank.
"Bring a power bank or a power source in case you need to call your family in an emergency," said the MCMC.
The MCMC also advised gamers to not wander into dangerous or forbidden areas and places of worship while playing the game and to be careful when meeting with people.
"Don't play the game alone and don't agree to meet strangers who contact you through the game. Be careful while using your phone, and don't ride a bicycle, motorcycle or drive while you play Pokemon Go or messaging your friends and family," said the MCMC.
Personally, here's some pointers that I think is important.
- Play the game with your friends so you always have a buddy system. This is good as you can also work together to find the best location and move together. Sometimes, one person can spot something the others could not. "Rare Pokemons" for example.
- Inform your family members where you're at so if anything were to happen to you, they know the first place to find you. You wouldn't want your parents to be worried if you return home late or you went somewhere and they could not reach you.
- For parents with children playing the game, bring them to malls or parks where you can easily keep an eye on them instead of allowing them to play the game on the street where they could easily be knocked down by vehicles. Certain venues and parks are blasting Lures on regular intervals to bring out more Pokemons so it's not hard to find at least some while you're there. I've personally seen some players get so engrossed with the game that they didn't realize until a car honked at them that they have stepped out onto the roads. I wouldn't want to see my own children walk out to the street staring at their own phone not realizing there's oncoming vehicles.
- If you value your privacy, create another FREE GMAIL account and use that instead to sign into the game. Or make sure you don't have too many information in the account you are using. Playing the game allows the Developer to have access to your user information and if you have too many information like address and contact details in your account, you might expose yourself to public scrutiny if their data server gets hacked.
- Don't put your credit card information into the game as out of habit, we might accidentally click on certain features that requires payment and with the information already logged in, you might get certain amount deducted without you realizing it. I've already seen some friends spending quite a few amount on accidentally buying things they don't really intend to. At the end of the day, it's just an online game so don't have to take the game too seriously.