The augmented reality game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which launched in the UK on Friday, has been installed around 400 000 times in Britain and the US. Picture: YouTube.com

London - A Harry Potter version of smartphone game Pokemon Go could expose children to threats in "dangerous locations" and "inappropriate content", UK children's charity, the NSPCC warned.

The augmented reality game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which launched in the UK on Friday, has been installed around 400 000 times in Britain and the US and generated almost £250 000 (about R4.5-million) in player spending in its first 24 hours.

Augmented reality means players can walk around streets and interact with virtual objects, or "magical artefacts", which are superimposed on the real world through the camera lens. But safety fears have been raised over this type of game as youngsters, who gather in locations where the "artefacts" are hidden, have previously been targeted by thieves.

The NSPCC said young players should also be "wary" of connecting with strangers from other platforms, adding that online chat forums allow the "potential to speak to strangers and be exposed to inappropriate content". Kidscape charity agreed the games were "a source of concern".

Developer Niantic said: "We encourage all people to be aware of their surroundings and play alongside friends or family, especially when exploring unfamiliar places."

Daily Mail