Stories Gotta catch 'em all! There can be no doubt, Pokemon Go has taken over. The game has turned every smart phone into a Pokemon Meter similar to a Ghostbusters P.K.E. meter. Headliners Northern Ireland are no different in their determination to ‘Catch ‘em all.’ Here they discuss the game, it’s dangers, it’s attractions and what they have learned in their hunt for Pokemon. “I’ve been unleashing my inner seven year old” claims Zoe proudly. “The game is fantastic. It is the best thing about summer so far.” Niamh described it as a “phenomenon which makes us nerds interactive.” Adding, “It took a long time for the game to come out as the cartoon was aired years ago. It is the most instantly immersive thing I can remember for a while.” It has to be said that not all teenagers are addicted, Daniel has been viewing the craze with some trepidation. “I couldn’t give a monkey’s about pocket monsters or anybody hunting for them,” he said to the universal shock of his peers. “I like computer games but I think this one is not all it is cracked up to be. It has really annoyed me the way it has taken over social media everywhere.” Kasey couldn’t wait to disagree. “It is a really social game and that is why I like it. We had a family dinner last week and the adults at the table behind us suddenly shouted ‘Oh My God, there’s one on our table.’ It was really funny and we all laughed about it. “I’ve been out walking for six hours every night. Me and my big brother love the game. For the last three nights we’ve been out to 3am. “We were going to a Pokestop at Sainsbury’s the other night at 2am only to meet other Pokemon Go players who were already there. “The game is great and the bonding we are doing is extreme. I’ve learned a lot about my brother this week and not just which Pokemon is his favourite,” she joked. Asked what they learned about themselves while ‘in gameplay,’ Zoe remarked: “I’ve a lot more energy than I thought.” To which Beth responded: “I learned I’ve a lot less energy than I thought. Also I really like walking out and about at night. “I wouldn’t usually go out on my own to be honest but there are people out there playing Pokemon to all hours.” Wandering the streets in the dark can present some dangers, not least for Zoe, who almost wandered into a burning building due to the fact that she had her head in her phone. Zoe explained: “A few nights ago vandals set fire to a derelict school in my estate (Immaculate Conception College, Derry) but I walked into the grounds not realising anything was wrong until I saw the blue lights of the emergency services reflecting on the ground.” While it is unlikely that Zoe would have wandered into the flames it does illustrate the dangers not paying attention presents. Such is the situation several police forces and children’s charities have issued warnings to Pokemon Go players. Not least the Police Service of Northern Ireland who this week confirmed one ‘avid’ player risked his life. PSNI Ards confirmed on Facebook: "Already this morning we had a report of a male jumping out in front of traffic on the A2, Holywood. Can you guess why? "I don't care how rare the Pokemon is, it's not worth your life." While Neil Anderson, head of the NSPCC in Northern Ireland claimed: “It’s very disappointing that child safety isn’t at its (Pokemon Go) heart.” Asked to share safety tips with their peers, Headliners young people had a few tips to add to those issued by, among others, local police, the Spanish and Japanese governments. “There is a chance that the game will walk you into danger but only if the player isn’t paying attention. There is individual responsibility here. We can’t blame Pokemon,” joked James. “It is a good mental health App” said Beth, “walking is good for you and this is great motivation.” “It is best not to play the game alone. Hunt in groups,” added Zoe. “Players should also be aware that their geo-location is being recorded during gameplay,” said Niamh. “I think it is important to protect your personal details as much as possible. I think all the things we know about staying safe online are just as, if not more applicable to, Pokemon Go players,” Gerry concluded. Asked how long they might continue playing the game, Beth snapped: “Until we catch ‘em all, obviously.” https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/ This article was compiled by Hannah Partridge, Beth McKinney, James Dalziel, Gerard Doherty, Kasey Hayes and Daniel McCafferty.