KENILWORTH, NJ - The Kenilworth Public Library hosted a Pokemon Go information session, Thursday Aug. 25.  The goal of the program was to teach how the game is played and how to stay safe while playing it.

Library Director Michael Maziekien started the presentation by explaining core mechanics of the game. He also warned of the safety risks associated with several of the game mechanics, while also providing tips that allow children to assess the situation and make good choices while playing.

“If I told you that, tomorrow, in front of town hall at noon, they’d be giving out free pizza, would you go? I might go,” Maziekien said while explaining street smarts. “But, if you got a text from a stranger saying that tomorrow they’re giving out free pizza behind Walmart at 4:30 in the morning . . . you don’t go. In the same way, if something looks too good to be true in this game, it is, and that’s the most central tenant to staying safe.”

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Next, Detective Brian Pickton of the Kenilworth Police Department gave a talk that focused on safety. He began by sharing real trouble that players have gotten into, as well as warning of potential trouble that players in the room could get into if they weren’t careful. Pickton also provided tips on how players could stay safe.

“Only go places you know. You go to Harding School, right? And you’re familiar with that?” Pickton asked a young girl in the audience. “But would you go to a school in, say, Union that you’re not too familiar with? Probably not, it’s not a good place to go. Where you live, obviously, is a safe place. Somewhere in town, like the library, is safe . . . but you shouldn’t go anywhere you’re not familiar with, even if there’s something you really want. It’s not worth the risk of going.”

Detective Pickton plans to hold another Pokemon Go information session during the school year for those who were unable to attend.

Anna Giacalone is a student-writer for TAPinto Kenilworth.