Should Your Kids Play Pokemon Go?
There have been a ton of Pokemon Go stories in the news lately! I see tons of stories on Twitter and Facebook both Pro and Con! As a parent, it’s natural to want to know if this is a game that your kids can or should play! Let’s address some of the concerns out there and hopefully give you some good info to make your decisions on!
First, let’s talk about what this game is. Some parents may be familiar with Pokemon, but not that up to date with smart phones and apps. Either way, it’s pretty simple. Pokemon Go uses your phones GPS to watch where you are and where you are going. Because of this, it can give you a ‘map’ to follow that has Pokemon (Creatures) appear on your screen! You then use the phone app to “catch” those Pokemon. You collect them! The game encourages people to get outside, interact, move, have fun! Watch the video below to get a better idea.
- IT’S DANGEROUS
A lot of stories have come out about people getting hit by cars, going to bad neighborhoods, being robbed, etc. etc… This is NOT because of the game. This is because people aren’t making good use of their common sense! The game itself, is not dangerous. In fact, it’s a great tool to get out and move and spend time with friends and family. The trick here, is don’t let your kids “go off” and play this alone. Playing in your back yard is one thing. But letting them go unsupervised, it not the best way to handle this. The premise of this game, is walking/moving around your area, block, town and more; finding hidden prizes with your phone. Think of it as a giant scavenger hunt, with way more goodies and add-ons.
As a parent, you wouldn’t let your kids go on a hunt downtown without being supervised. Same with this!
One heading that falls under this, is that it is dangerous based on distractions. True. But that is not because of the game. If you walk into the street while staring at your phone, you may get hit by a car. That can happen looking at your phone for texts, facebook or anything! This is not because of the game, it’s because of being distracted. I would make sure you talk to your kids about being smart with phones PERIOD!
- GIVES AWAY INFO
The app stores information from your phone.. Location, input, things like that. Yes, it does that. There is nothing to say that it is doing anything bad with that information! It’s a location based game based on your GPS – That means it needs that info. If you don’t want Pokemon Go to have that info.. then I would recommend not playing the game. Most of your text messaging apps, Google Apps, and other games, all do the same thing!
This is another article that ‘scares’ people. Listen, it’s not that crazy! Almost all your apps do this. Google Apps, Maps, Facebook, etc… They all store and access this information. If you want to play a game that connects with your friends live, tracks you by a GPS, and can send updates back to the company that made it to make your experience better? Then you have to understand that this is how that works!
Access to emails, contacts, photos… well, the games uses all of those. If you aren’t comfortable with Nintendo using that information, then yes, I would suggest you not play the game! Also, uninstall facebook, facebook messenger, gmail, google maps and more!
Seriously though. I can understand being concerned about privacy! It is your right to keep things private, so stay informed and make informed decisions!
Honestly, this is a great way to connect with your kids! Play it with them, make and adventure out of it and have fun. You don’t have to worry about keeping an eye on them, if you are with them! Above all, just use common sense. Don’t let your kids go off on a chase alone. Make sure you know where they are. Talk to them about being safe and staying where they can be safe and not secluded. These are things as a parent you are probably already doing! If you have ever been Geo Caching? This would be the same type of thing, but a bit more interactive!
PLEASE ask questions in the comments below! We will try to answer and are interested to see the discussion!
UPDATE: Here are some experiences from parents!