Six things ev­ery par­ent should know about Poké­mon Go

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Parenting - - Time Out -

1.For the first time in his­tory you may hear your kids com­plain that it’s rain­ing so they can’t go out­side and play video games. This is the par­ents’ guide to the new­est so­cial phe­nom­e­non that has taken over the world. What is Poké­mon Go?

You have prob­a­bly come across Poké­mon be­fore. It’s Ja­panese for ‘pocket mon­sters’. You may even be fa­mil­iar with Pikachu. Poké­mon has been around for ages and spans video games, TV shows, a trad­ing card game and now has be­come su­per pop­u­lar be­cause of the smart phone app, Poké­mon Go. Chances are your kids are play­ing it!

2.How does it work?

The ba­sic idea of the game is that you travel around the real world and find Poké­mon us­ing your de­vice. There are 250 dif­fer­ent types of Poké­mon out there. If your kid comes home ex­cited about catch­ing Bul­basaur there’s noth­ing to worry about. It’s not a drug or a disease. It’s a grass type Poké­mon with ra­zor leaf at­tack. You col­lect them and bat­tle against other users. Your kid doesn’t need hand-eye co­or­di­na­tion to catch Poké­mon - just a fully-charged smart­phone and ac­cess to the in­ter­net.

This week I saw a group of teenagers run­ning laps around a park with their phones in front of their faces. They were out­doors with their friends, they were ex­er­cis­ing and they were play­ing a video game all at the same time. Weird.

3.Ba­sic facts

It’s free. You sign up us­ing a Google ac­count. If you have Gmail, you’re good to go. This may raise alarm bells in re­gards to ac­cess to per­sonal in­for­ma­tion so make sure when your kid is set­ting up their ac­count that they only per­mit the app ac­cess to their ba­sic in­for­ma­tion, not full ac­cess. There are in-game pur­chases that can cost money too.

You need to travel to find Poké­mon. The places that at­tract play­ers are called Pokéstops and there are hun­dreds of them across ev­ery city. These are pub­lic places where users gather to col­lect in-game items. It’s now com­mon to see peo­ple hang­ing around places like war memo­ri­als more than usual to play this game. Par­ents will want to think about how far their kid can travel and what Pokéstops are safe to hang out at. Though it is wise to never let your child ven­ture to a Pokéstop on their own.

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