More and more children are downloading Pokémon GO. The latest incarnation of the favourite card game still features loveable Pikachu and friends, but the trending app now gives users a more intimate and immersive experience via their digital devices and smartphones.
It won’t be long before your kids are begging to join in on the hunt, too (if they haven’t already!)
This wildly popular app has already been downloaded over 15 million times with numbers projected to grow as it is released in new countries.
Its easy to spot players – herds of them are hitting the streets, heads down, eyes glued to their devices.
Just like any new trend, it is essential to examine the pros, cons, and safety solutions before we let our kids participate.
The pros and cons of Pokémon GO
Pokémon Go offers our kids many benefits under the guise of collecting, evolving, and battling virtual monsters. Suddenly, our kids are excited about exercising and getting outside in an effort to “catch’em all”.
As players walk around looking for new landmarks and Poké stops to add more Pokémon to their cache, they are surprisingly benefiting in many ways beyond their physical health.
Yes, it’s just a video game, but one of the more interesting snowball effects of this new app is how it is building a camaraderie among players.
Something special is happening in the street as more people log on and begin playing. Suddenly, people are out and about meeting and bonding over this app which is causing a sense of community and earning players a variety of psychological rewards.
Stories are surfacing about the impact Pokémon GO has had on kids with special needs and how the game has become a catalyst for improving their desire to interact with others and break routines. We can also turn to social media to see pages and posts full of heartwarming tales regarding this phenomenon with children and adults alike.
However, there are a few safety concerns popping up around Pokémon Go: Players are becoming so immersed in the game that they are distracted, which has led to several accidents and injuries. As users become so engrossed in watching their screens they are increasing the likelihood of causing a traffic accident, walking into objects, falling down stairs, or stumbling into unsafe secluded areas.
5 questions to ask yourself before allowing kids to play
Besides dodgy internet connections and GPS tracking errors, there are obvious dangers that accompany Trainers on quests as they hunt elusive Pokémon.
Before allowing a child to play, make sure you ask and answer the following questions:
- Does my child have friends or family members willing to play with them?
- Can my child be polite and respect private property?
- If playing without an adult, will they stay in designated public areas close to home?
- Are they mature enough to avoid walking, driving, or biking while looking at their screens?
- Have I taught my child how to cross streets safely?
8 safety tips for Pokémon GO players
If you answered “yes” to a majority of the above questions, then your child might be ready to head out on a Pokémon GO adventure.
However, before you let them out the door, its worthwhile implementing the following safety strategies to keep them safe on their hunts and to give yourself a little peace of mind:
- Children should always play in groups or with a trusted adult.
- Avoid playing after dark or before dawn.
- Clearly designate routes or areas where children can hunt Pokémon close to home.
- Wear highly visible clothing to make it easier for drivers to notice a child.
- Avoid stopping in roadways or intersections- always find a safe spot before playing.
- Have older children and teens check in with you regularly.
- Never drive while playing.
- Always stay in public areas, on sidewalks or pavement, and avoid secluded areas.
Will you be allowing your kids to play Pokémon GO? Or is more a case of Pokémon NO?