Last updated on Jun 21st, 2021 at 04:47 pm

In life there are all kinds of decisions …

Pepperoni or Cheese? Trump or Hillary? Coke or Pepsi? … and so on. The list is never ending, especially with children in the house.

Recently many families have been faced with the new dilemma, “Should I let my kids play ‘Pokémon GO’?”

Trading cards in favour of a real-life treasure hunt

According to USA Today this popular free app has been downloaded at least 15 million times with numbers only increasing as more countries gain access.

Today, our sons and daughters have traded in their cards in favour of a real life treasure hunt which has resulted in mass numbers of boys and girls searching neighbourhoods and parks for a digital version of their favourite little pocket monsters.

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The pros and cons of ‘Pokémon GO’

As more and more of our children’s friends join, it might be tempting to give into our little ones’ demands or pleas to download this engaging game. Like any new fad, there are distinct bonuses and risks associated with this app that we need to consider. This makes it important to take a step back and carefully examine all the pros and cons before we allow our children the privilege of trying “to catch them all”.

Like any new fad, there are distinct bonuses and risks associated with this app that we need to consider

Pokémon Go offers a myriad of positive side effects that accompany our kids’ quests of finding Pikachu and friends. This game encourages hunters to walk around various locations searching for new Pokémon, virtually capturing them, collecting new gear, and hatching eggs. These pursuits can encourage our sons and daughters to bond with friends and family as they build or evolve their collections. In addition, while our kids are outside gathering creatures, they are also exercising their minds by utilising their maths, problem solving, and reading skills.

The overall beauty of this app is how our children become enthusiastic about venturing outside, exercising both their bodies and minds.

On the other hand…

One of the most obvious problems with ‘Pokémon Go’ is that it has the potential to distract pedestrians and drivers, leading to accidents. Every day we see funny clips online of people walking into signs or falling down stairwells, because they were so engrossed in locating an elusive wartortle or charizard.

Distractions however, might just be the tip of the iceberg of possible dangers associated with this app. Experts are now warning users to demonstrate caution and good judgment when heading to secluded locations as concerns about criminals and paedophiles mount.

Keeping kids safe while playing ‘Pokémon GO’

Children and adults who are actively hunting Pokémon may find that the game has a few pitfalls besides the occasional server errors and gym battles, but that doesn’t necessarily mean this game doesn’t have value. Thankfully, if we choose to allow our kids to play this new app, we can empower them with necessary tools to play ‘Pokémon GO’ safely.

Listed below are 10 actionable tips for protecting our avid Pokémon collectors, even teenagers:

Only allow Poké hunting during the daytime

  1. Make it a family affair and play the app with your children
  2. Only allow Poké hunting during the daytime
  3. Encourage children to always play with a friend or group – never alone
  4. Designate a certain area or route they can safely walk with friends
  5. Teach children to pay attention to their whereabouts in public areas – avoid stopping in roads and put down their phones while walking
  6. Dress children in reflective clothing or highly visible colours to protect them while walking or biking
  7. Help a child set their devices to vibrate if a Pokémon is within close proximity, making it easier for them to look away from their screens while walking
  8. Avoid driving and playing
  9. For added safety, give your child an emergency battery charger in case their phone or tablet battery dies so they can always touch base with you
  10. Always stay on pavements and respect the property of others

Going forward

With a little foresight and awareness, our children can enjoy the game they desire while offering us a little peace of mind. By teaching our sons and daughters the necessary skills and behaviours to help them stay safe, we can greatly reduce the risks associated with ‘Pokémon GO’.

How do you protect your children while playing ‘Pokémon GO’?
Share in the comments section!

Article by: Amy K. Williams