Pokémon Go has swept the globe and Pokémon trainers are walking all over the place trying to catch the most elusive Pokémon. You may have heard some good and bad things about the game and I’m going to give you the important details about the game and how I think parents can utilize the game to make it educational.
There will not be a tutorial (if that’s what you’re looking for) but you can find plenty of them on YouTube and other websites. Ready?
What is Pokémon Go?
Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. It was released in most regions of the world in July 2016. (Source: Wikipedia)
Will your Kids Want to Play Pokémon Go?
Are fish wet? Yes, your kids will want to play Pokémon Go. In fact, I’ve seen people in their 60’s playing it. Pokémon Go has truly bridged the age gap and people of all ages are playing it.
Is There Any Objectionable Content?
No. I’ve heard some people mention that catching imaginary monsters and training them to fight might spill over into the real world leading kids to catch animals but I think most kids are aware that forcing real animals to fight is cruel.
What Should I Watch Out For?
Be aware that the game has a number of in-game purchases that can be made. Before you hand your phone to your kids make sure you’ve disable the ability to make in-game purchases or at least configure your device so that a password is required to spend money.
I’m waiting to here the first report of a $10,000 bill because a parent let their kid use Pokémon Go unsupervised.
Also, make sure your kids are aware of the dangers of riding their bike while playing the game. Make sure to remind them that they should be aware of where they are and where they’re walking.
There are plenty of stories out there about people walking off cliffs, getting robbed, and crashing their cars while playing the game. I think if people just use common sense they won’t have any problems.
Are There Any Positive or Educational Uses
First, if you have young kids, you’re going to want to play with them. That means you and your kids will be getting a lot of exercise, especially if you want to incubate and hatch any eggs.
Your kids will remember that Mom or Dad took them out to play Pokémon Go. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with them outside and show them that you’re intrested in what makes them smile.
I’ve found that there are many Pokémon Stops (locations where you can collect items for catching Pokémon) that are at historical markers, museums, libraries, and other interesting locations. This is a great way to expose your kids to some local history and culture. Take the opportunity to read those plaques and talk about what you read while catching Pokémon or gathering supplies.
Along with all of the craziness associated with the game there’s also a lot of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). Remember: Any time someone is using fear to influence your decision, they’re probably uninformed. Get the facts and learn about the game to make an informed decision for you and your family. Pokémon are not demons. Your kids won’t get kidnapped. Just use common sense and talk to your kids about responsible device usage.
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Music for the podcast by Kevin Macleod.