Pokémon Go, the latest mobile craze, has taken the world by storm — but what exactly is it all about? If you’re in the dark, you’re not alone. We’ve got answers to some of the biggest questions and safety concerns parents have about Pokémon Go. Discuss these concerns with your child, and have some fun helping your little Pokémon Trainer “catch ‘em all” safely!
The Pokémon Go app encourages children to “get up and go” to “catch ‘em all,” and has been praised for getting kids active and requiring critical thinking skills. However, it doesn’t come without some risks. Accidents, injuries, and even new laws meant to protect government regulated areas and U.S. embassies are all results of this newest craze.
So how can you keep your child safe while playing?
Pokémon Go uses a mobile device’s GPS capabilities to replicate the world map, complete with real-world streets, parks, rivers, and other landmarks. This map is placed in the game, and the player must then travel around that map in “real life” in order to travel around in the game.Pokémon, the game’s catchable creatures, are randomly scattered across the map, and players must be physically nearby to capture them. For example, if a Pokémon appears four blocks away on the game’s map, the player must walk four blocks in “real life” to reach it. Need to know: Your child is following a map that’s based on the real world, and will get alerts when a Pokémon is nearby. For example, he may run to the nearby park because he got an alert that there’s a Pokémon there.
Need to know: Remind your child to stay on sidewalks, bike paths, and other pedestrian-friendly routes. Reiterate that everything in Pokémon Go is in a public place, like a library, restaurant, or park, and it’s never okay or necessary to enter somebody’s backyard, home, or any blocked off or fenced-in areas.
However, the game is extremely popular. Current estimates count about 21 million daily users worldwide. Given this, if your child is playing Pokémon Go in a popular public place, they’re bound to bump into (perhaps literally!) other players.Need to know: Remind your child of typical “stranger danger” rules and guidelines in case there are people out there trying to take advantage of this.