When we signed on to be parents, we knew our jobs weren't going to be easy. We prepared ourselves for sleepless nights, crawling toddlers, and temper tantrums. Many of us poured over any and every parenting books and blogs we could get our hands on, looking for expert advice and recommendations. However, as our sons and daughters age, we often find ourselves facing new dilemmas that weren't covered in all those parenting 101 materials.
Today, many of our children are begging and pleading, with sugar and cherries on top, to play the free Pokémon GO app that is taking the world by storm. According to USA Today, this game has been downloaded over 15 million times, and experts warn that this number will only grow. Unfortunately, for us, this new phenomenon wasn't covered in any of our trusty pamphlets or magazines, and can leave many of us scratching our heads wondering if we should allow our kids to try and “catch 'em all.”
Why Should/Shouldn't You Let Your Kids Play Pokémon Go
Pokémon GO: The Good and The Bad
As the game gains in popularity, it is becoming increasingly difficult to deny our kids’ pleas to join in on the hunt. After all, we have seen news headlines and posts on social media about players falling into other unforeseen dangers. This makes it essential that before we give in to our children's demands, we should take a few minutes and carefully weigh the good and bad associated with Pokémon GO.
One of the biggest benefits of this app is that it is getting people outside and moving. As players search neighborhoods and communities for elusive creatures to capture they are logging a lot of extra steps in each day. As an added bonus, users are required to walk a certain distance before they can hatch new Pokémon. This drive to collect and evolve their Poké stash has encouraged exercising in unprecedented ways.
While our children pursue new objects and Pokémon to add to their stockpiles, they are also honing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This app might appear dull in the beginning, but it involves a lot more skill than swiping a screen to snag a critter. Users need to utilize math, reading, and strategies to play the game effectively.
And last, but not least, this game has the power to provide bonding time for siblings and families. Suddenly, brothers and sisters stop squabbling and begin working together to retake a local gym or hatch a 10-kilometer egg. Families head out on excursions and participate in the game together- which is remarkable when we consider the diversity in many of our activities today.
Some risk undoubtedly offsets all of these benefits. After all, there is always an element of danger surrounding our lives. In the quest for Pokémon, a few users have tripped or run their way into signs, causing them to be overnight laughingstocks online. The distractive nature of this game is a cause for concern, but with a little foresight and proactive planning, our children can play Pokémon GO safely and still have fun.
8 Crucial Pointers For Keeping Kids Safe
Unfortunately, this game does pose a few dangers to our children as they head out into our communities. Use the following tips to offset these risks, empowering our sons and daughters with the skills and tools needed to be safe while playing Pokémon GO:
- Use the buddy system and never play alone. Better yet, get the entire family involved and play together.
- Always pay attention to your surroundings and map out a route or area children can play the game- avoid stopping in dangerous roadways or secluded areas.
- Limit gaming to daylight hours.
- Keep a backup battery charger on hand in case of a device drains before you get home and you need to contact someone.
- Respect property and stay on sidewalks.
- Wear clothing that increases visibility to drivers and other pedestrians.
- Avoid walking and looking at the screen- set devices to buzz and alert you when objects are close.
- Don't drive while playing.