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Pokemon Go out of control? Here's how to kick the habit

Climbing walls trying to catch them all? Barely recognising friends and family, but can spot a Cloyster silhouette at 20 paces? Don't panic: Here's how to keep your Pokemon Go use down to manageable levels.


It hasn't even been a week since Pokemon Go launched and already it's hard to imagine what we did in those dark days before it was in our lives. Were there books? Films? Did I just imagine a thing called Netflix, or did it exist in the before times? Only historians will be able to tell us.

While it's all fun and games until someone walks off a pier scouting for a Seadra, there are ways to make sure that your enjoyment of the insanely popular augmented reality game stays on the healthy side. Because let's be honest, like the rest of us, you're probably playing a lot of Pokemon Go.

Know the warning signs

How do you know if you're edging into the arena of the unwell? There are a few things that you can watch out for. They're not hard and fast rules, but they can be a good indicator about putting some limits on your game time.

  • It's the last thing you do at night
  • It's the first thing you do in the morning
  • It's what you wake up in the middle of the night to do
  • You're playing at work (and not just on your breaks)
  • You're taking an extended break from work...to play
  • You're playing instead of spending time with friends and family
  • You evolved all the friends and family that you care about
  • You haven't been home for three days because there are eggs that need hatching

Of course, the most important sign to look for is that you wish you could spend a little less time playing, but you keep finding yourself opening the app even when you don't mean to.


This is how you live now.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Get a leash on that Lickitung

So you're loving the game but don't want it eating your life? There are a few simple tricks that help you set some limits.

Only play outside: Half the fun is the exploration, so make sure you're only playing when you're out and about. That way you're getting the benefits of moving around, but you're putting the phone away when you get to your destination. And if you're in the Southern Hemisphere, the cooler weather might help you curtail your worst excesses. Or you'll just wear a thicker coat.

Play with Friends: I mean friends who you know, by the way. Not your new greatest soulmate who you met six minutes earlier when they told you there was an Eevee by the fountain. Heading around with a group means you'll not only dominate the gyms, you'll also have people to actually speak to and you'll be able to keep an eye on how much everyone is playing.

Don't take a spare battery pack: Pokemon Go will kill your battery so completely you'll think it was staked through the heart, beheaded and had its mouth stuffed with garlic. Every list of tips for the game will include taking a spare battery. But you shouldn't -- instead, treat your battery life as a way of rationing your game time into sensible chunks.

Turn off AR mode: Stick with me on this one. Yes, I know it'll save your battery life and that conflicts with what I was suggesting above. But AR mode is where you get the fun of seeing Pokemon standing on people heads, or in your lunch. Turn that off and you'll realise it's just another Pokemon game with less fights and no rollerskates.

Give it time: Of course you're playing a lot! It's brand new, it's exciting and everyone is talking about it. Chances are it'll naturally lose some of its appeal. Remember how desperately you wanted that Ello invite? Remember getting excited to "plus one all the things" on Google+? No. Neither do I.