Six things every parent should know about Pokémon Go
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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.
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.