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How to play Pokémon Go without being a jerk

Five simple rules for being in polite society.

Drew Angerer / Getty

So, you downloaded Pokémon Go.

First off, congratulations! You’re getting in on the ground floor of a new kind of technology that could radically transform the way we interact with the world around us. It’s all very exciting.

But as with any newfangled tech thing, we’re still sorting out the acceptable way to play Pokémon Go in the outside world. It’s not so intuitive: How do you walk around with a smartphone in front of your face without being too rude or oblivious to the world around you? It’s not easy!

To that end, we’ve put together some basic rules for how to play Pokémon Go without being a jerk. They are as follows:

  1. This one’s a biggie: Avoid playing Pokémon Go at the sites of unfathomable crimes against humanity, or at memorials for such horrors. The Holocaust Museum in Washington? Off-limits. Auschwitz? Off-limits. Also, don’t play Pokémon Go in graveyards. Apparently this is a problem at Arlington National Cemetery.
  2. Don’t play Pokémon Go on staircases or other places where people might walk into or over you. This one should be obvious.
  3. Don’t go wandering onto private property or linger outside places that might upset neighbors. For example, Pokémon Go is sending lots of people to places like churches or synagogues. In one case, a dude’s church-turned-private-residence is designated as a Pokémon "Gym", and it sounds pretty lame to have people hanging around his house at all hours.
  4. Keep an eye out if you’re headed for an unfamiliar neighborhood, or a place where you might run into trouble. People are literally getting robbed after being lured to PokéStops. One girl even found a dead body. It probably won’t happen to you, but it never hurts to be extra careful.
  5. Just because you see someone else playing Pokémon Go, that does not mean they want to talk to you. If there are dozens of people crowded in a big public space, that might be a good time to make new friends (isn’t being outside exciting?). But that’s not always the case. Sometimes people would like to catch their Pokémon on their own. Respect their boundaries.

Game on.

This article originally appeared on

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