- The 0.111.x Pokemon GO update allows you to find the exact location of a Pokestop from which you received a gift
- Although this feature is, at it’s core, under your control, it can lead to unintentionally revealing personal information and your whereabouts
- The GO Hub team wants to advise and inform their readership about potential implications of this feature
With the new update out, a lot of friending features came with it — in particular, a new gift mechanic. Not only can you see where the gift came from (city, state, country, etc), but you can actually find the EXACT location of the Pokéstop where the gift was picked up, in map view!
This is a feature I’m quite sure no one in the community was asking for. It’s curious as to why Niantic implemented this in the first place; you can probably already tell the issues that can be associated with such a detailed location tag. With that being said, let’s get into how you can keep yourself (or even your kids) safe.
Accessibility of Information
In all honesty, you could already find the location of the exact Pokéstop where a gift came from before the update. All you had to do was pull up a website or map of Pokéstops and run a simple search using the Stop’s name.
This new update makes the Pokéstop location easier to find within the game itself, which does pose a new threat because of the lesser effort it takes to track someone down. It also eliminates the confusion of using the older search method, by avoiding other Pokéstops of the same name (such as “Bike Rack” or “Mural”, of which there are hundreds).
I absolutely love this feature of the latest #PokemonGo update .. you can now see the location of the pokestop your gift came from .. again, this is making me want to pay Japan a visit pic.twitter.com/Yo0mujvPcF
— Ismael Rosado TL: 40 (est. 7-7-16) (@Sn3ak3r_Fr3ak3r) July 23, 2018
Being able to add friends now in game is great. With that, unfortunately, comes random strangers as well. At first glance, that’s not a terrible thing. After all, this game is intended to be a social one. Now that these “strangers” can see locations of where you’ve been via gifts, this invades some privacy. I don’t want to say it, but it is true there are some stories out there about people stalking others and even more serious issues like police calls. This can be especially scary as a parent. Chances are that just like you, your kid has added random strangers as friends in Pokemon GO. Bottom line – BE CAUTIOUS OF WHO YOU ADD AS A FRIEND!
How to Stay Safe
If you are worried about this update, there are a few things you can do. First off, pay attention to who you friend in Pokemon GO. If the person is from your area, but you haven’t really gotten to know them in your community, use your best interest in deciding whether to add them or not. Adding relatives, close friends and people who you’ve developed a relationship with in your community are the best choices on who you should friend for safety purposes.
The next thing you can do is to be observant on what gifts you are sending. Since gifts can be tracked to an exact location, sending one from a good distance from where you live (your home) is a good idea. Some of you have a Gym or Pokéstop nearby your house. I recommend not sending any gifts to strangers from those points of interest; you’ll only be compromising your location.
Finally, the last thing you can do is to friend strangers from other countries if you must friend strangers at all. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll travel across the world to stalk you. Distance gift sending and receiving is, for the most part, safe.
From what I remember, the community wanted a way to store their favorite post cards, not to know the EXACT locations of where the gifts are coming from. We at GO Hub are guessing (hoping?) that Niantic will remove / modify this feature as it borderline invades our privacy. Let us know what you think about all this in the comments section down below, along with suggestions of other ways to make gift giving safe. As always, be safe trainers!