Pokeman Go Parenting Guide – Looking At The Pros and Cons

Why is Pokemon Go all the rage with kids and adults at the moment?  Everybody is talking about it and this post is a Pokeman Go parenting guide. This will help you through all the hype and fuss. It is also enormously popular – 18 million active users in the USA, just two weeks after going live!

You need to know what this game is. The best way is to play it with your kids and go out with them. That can be very educational and will clarify a lot of the issues.

Pokemon Go features.

The great thing about this game is that kids have to go out and search for all the Pokemans in their immediate neighborhood. They actually get fresh air and exercise. This is so much better than staying at home glued to a screen. Many toys nowadays are focused on playing indoors and this is understandable at Christmas bit not when the weather is kinder.

The phone webcam shows a  map of where you are and all the game elements are superimposed on that.  They appear on the screen as if they were actually there. It is a novel way of using GPS technology by blending virtual and real objects. You cannot play unless you actually go out and search for them in the real world. Welcome to the augmented reality world!

As with all the Pokeman games, you (the trainer) have to find as many Pokemans (monsters) that are around you. You then capture them and make them more powerful so that they can conquer a few of the local gyms. You will have to train them up and look after them. But don’t put them into a gym too early as this excellent Pokemon guide points out.

Most parents when looking for a Pokemon Go parenting guide will want to know what are the main features. They will also look at the advantages and also some of the risks that go with playing this game.

Pokemon Go Pros

Kids have to go out and get some exercise. For example, if you want to actually hatch an egg, you are required to walk around it for about 2 kilometers before it will hatch.

You get to know all sorts of features, monuments and sights of your local area. You might not have noticed these before.  Players get to know their neighborhood better.

They can also interact with other players who assemble at the pokestops. That is a great way of socializing and beats being attached to a screen and messaging any time.  There is no built in chat so that players have to have real live conversations. They may want to chat, compare notes or study their opponents.

You can have a blast with your kids when you play with them. It is a great way of bonding, exercizing and also giving them some of your precious one-on-one time.

Pokemon Go Cons

One problem is that it can really drain the batteries. Encourage the kids to check their battery levels before leaving because all the GPS stuff really uses a ton of battery power. Remind them of the battery saver mode – it’s in the settings.

Kids are on their phones and using an app and this merely reflects the digital age our kids grow up in. Fortunately, the American  Pediatric Association has now recognized this. It is taking a much more sensible and balanced approach as you can see from the article here.

Distraction may be a problem in that when players get too involved, they are unaware of the immediate surroundings. The fact that there is a Pokemon on the screen which is not there in real life can cause a few accidents. Any Pokemon Go parenting guide will point this out.

There may be some problems with privacy and identity issues which we offer in the guide below. Any decent pokemon go parenting guide will mention these.

There is a slight risk that kids may be lured to a spot. But this is not any bigger than other problems when kids go out and play. Lenore Skenazy in Free Range Kids  rightly points this out in the Wall Street Journal post

Pokemon Go Parenting Guide

 Here are a few tips:-

  • Warn your kids about falling and crashing into objects. Play it with them and show them the pitfalls of these minor accidents.
  • Encourage them to keep the phone in their pockets as they explore. They do not need to be glued to the screen as it vibrates when there is a Pokemon in the area.
  • Warn kids to be cautious if they are searching for “water type” Pokemons. These are always close to water sources.
  • Encourage them to play with their buddies as they can keep an eye on each other.
  • Watch the timing because the adrenaline will be flowing here when your kid is searching out the Pokemons and also fighting. You really have to put a time limit on this because it can be too stressful if kids play it for several hours without a break.
  • Choose parks and other areas which are safer as they are far away from busy roads.
  • If it is dark, make sure they are wearing glow bands. Wear one yourself to set the example.
  • It makes sense that kids do not use their real names when playing Pokemon Go. They can be much more creative than that!  It is also a good idea to create an alternative Gmail account for them as well as they will have to use that account when signing in to play.

Pokemon Go Parenting Guide Awareness Tips

A Pokemon Go parenting guide will always mention the fact of the “lures”. Players can spend their tokens by setting up a lure and people can flock there hoping to catch some Pokemons. You need to establish your own rules for visiting the lures. Decide if and who should accompany your kids.  This is an age dependent issue.

We have all seen what the effects of exercise are for kids and the considerable health benefits. This is a great opportunity and we should be making full use of it. Not forgetting the sense of escapism as one plays a game.  We can  distract ourselves from the awful headlines we normally get on our phones.

Maybe a few people (kids, teens and adults) are getting carried away.  Perhaps they are not paying enough attention to the places and people around them.

Photo courtesy of Flickr