There isn’t a chance in a million you haven’t heard of Pokemon Go.
This new game has dominated social media feeds, news bulletins, and local parks, for the past couple of weeks.
Released earlier this month, the game blends real life with gaming, to create an addictive pastime which is taking the world by storm.
Using augmented reality, the game allows players to seek out Pokemon characters in their local area.
The game imposes a virtual layer over reality, using the smartphone’s camera and this helps your child to find and collect Pokemon characters.
There are over 100 to collect and your child will probably beg you to take her out to explore until she’s collected them all.
5 Things Parents Should Know About Pokemon Go
Here are 5 things you should know about Pokemon Go:
#1: The Game Doesn’t Sleep
Pokemon Go doesn’t have a bedtime. These pesky little monsters will be out and about all night long. This means many players are heading out in the dark to play the game.
Although this might not sound like a big deal, it does compromise the players’ safety. If you don’t usually let your child walk through the park at night, then you’ll need to explain that the rule still applies – even when there are Pokemon hanging out at the playground.
#2: It Forces You To Explore
In order to catch the Pokemon, gamers need to get out and about and track them down. For your child, this could involve going to unfamiliar, or unsafe, areas. The game uses GPS information to help players track down Pokemon and, as you might expect, players often end up congregated together as they try to track down nearby Pokemon.
Whilst this adds a social element to the game, it is not without risk. Make sure older children are aware of the potential dangers of visiting new places, and speaking to strangers. Advise them to stay alert and on guard at all times. If your children are younger, it’s worth accompanying them on their Pokemon adventures, so you know they’re safe.
When done as a family, it can be a bonding experience. One mother says:
“For those who bag out Pokemon, yesterday we spent all day at the zoo with the kids and today we were at the playground at Lilydale lake, walking around everywhere finding Pokemon! What a very awesome, bonding, fresh air experience instead of sitting at home watching television! Pokemon is AWESOME!”
#3: There Are In-App Purchases
The app is free to download and free to play. Theoretically, your child can enjoy hours of entertainment without it costing you a penny.
However, there are in-app purchases you need to be aware of. They vary in price, but some of them can be quite expensive. If you don’t want your child to make in-app purchases, you’ll need to make sure you have parental controls set up on the phone.
#4: It’s A Game With Very Real Dangers
Unlike most screen games, Pokemon Go isn’t played in the safety of your own home. Have a talk with your kids. Make sure they realise that real life dangers will still be present even when they’re immersed in the game.
There have been reports of players getting into road traffic accidents, falling off cliffs, and even being run over while playing the game. Your children need to remember to stay safe and alert, even when they are chasing Pokemon. Children tend to have tunnel vision in the sense that they focus on what they want and not necessarily what’s around them.
#5: It Gets Kids Outdoors
It might be a computer game, and it might be upping the number of hours you spend staring at a screen each day, but Pokemon Go does have a big advantage. It’s encouraging kids to get outside and explore their local areas.
Since the game came out, you’ve probably noticed an increase in the number of teenagers dashing about in your local park. That can’t be a bad thing, right? If your kids are into Pokemon Go, use this as an excuse to visit new places, to explore the countryside, and to spend time outdoors as a family.
You might want to set limits on screen time, so you can enjoy your days out as a family, as well as catching some of those much-needed Pokemon. Alternatively, you can join the hordes of parents downloading the game to their own smartphones, and become a Pokemon Go addict yourself.
Don’t forget, if you have any questions about Pokemon Go, your child is probably already an expert in everything to do with the game. Kids love nothing better than showing off their knowledge, especially when it comes to the latest trends.
The best way to find out more is to download the game, and try it for yourself. That way you’ll know exactly what your child is doing.
Recommended Reading: 5 Reasons Why Your Kids Need To Spend More Time Outside.