Pokestops, Pokeballs, Pokecoins, Gyms are the buzz words of the summer. Just about everyone’s at least heard of the game, even if they aren’t already playing it… It’s Pokemon Go. Have your kids gotten into the craze yet?
This new reality based game has caught the attention of everyone around the globe. Young and old, we’re all playing it and loving it! But before you get too caught up in it, take some time and learn how to play the game and understand some of the safety concerns surrounding it. There are some real safety concerns that are getting tossed to the side as people leap over fences, cross roads and head into rivers, all in search of the Pokemon character they are trying to capture.
Pokemon Go can be played on Apple products and Android as long as you have a data plan and an email address to join. The game does use your camera and GPS. One thing that people like about this game is it is getting everyone outside and moving. In order to play the game you have to walk around your community searching for Pokemon characters. However, this can also be a safety concern as people are trespassing, and not paying attention to their surroundings. It’s very important if your kids are playing you discuss community boundaries and road safety with them.
On a positive note, it is a great way to get to know the people in your community. The players are all calling out and chatting to one another about where the Pokestops are and which characters are around. From young to old, everyone is talking to each other.
It’s great to know the people in your community, however safety concerns about stranger danger and wandering off with someone to go catch another Pokemon character should be discussed. Never should your child go off with a stranger no matter how rare, or how many Pokemon characters they are saying are just around the corner. If you are not playing the game with your kids and in the same vancity as them a great feature to watch where they are is the Find My Friend on your phones, or you can use Find My Phone to track and see where your children are in the community.
Once you have downloaded the Pokemon Go app to play you create your own user name…be aware this is becoming harder than it sounds as so many people have downloaded their names and favourite sports and activities it is hard to find a unique name. However, we do actually like this as it is making you get creative with your usernames and not use personal information. Another thing to note when you are setting up usernames is that once it is created you cannot change it….that includes spelling mistakes as well! So take your time and come up with a name that is unique to you.
You are also able to customize your trainer and what they look like and are wearing. Your trainer will appear and you will see him as you play. Others will also be able to see your character once you are in the gym.
As you play the game, you are moving about your community trying to find and capture Pokemon characters. As you play your phone will vibrate to tell you if you are close to a character. Once you tap on things a reality map of your location showing you where the characters are and how close in proximity they are to you will appear. Once you reach the character you throw Pokeballs at it trying to capture it.
At a certain point in the game you will be asked to join a team and the team members can all see each other at the gym and have to work together. Gyms, like Pokestops, can also be real life places in your community. Once you’ve captured your Pokemon you can snap a picture of it in a real life situation, that as we are seeing are being shared on other social platforms. This is a safety concern with the game as the kids are posting their whereabouts on all sorts of other social platforms. The game is fun to play but we do encourage you to talk to your kids about this and what personal information is in the background of where the character has appeared that would then give clues or identifying information for others to see.
Remember what happens online stays online. Do you really want everyone to know your child’s whereabouts and the community they are living in? Remember Pokestops and Pokegyms are often found at public, community places. This is usually where conversations with other players tend to take place as they talk about the game. We want to see the good in people however, strangers could have their own agenda and try to influence your child to go with them to find more Pokemon. We can’t stress enough the importance to having discussions with your kids about stranger danger and never going off with anyone.
Not sure if you really want your kids to be playing the Pokemon Go game but they are pushing for it? Try downloading it on your phone and playing it with them. That way you can be out enjoying time together and get a good understanding for how the game actually works. While playing, take the opportunity to talk about some of the safety concerns surrounding the game. For a real life look as to how the game is played check out our latest video as we head out to play Pokemon Go:
As always have fun, be #SociallySafe and happy Pokemon playing!
About Socially Safe
Stacy Maynard & Kerry Hills are moms with successful social media businesses. We have a passion for helping children understand how to use social media safely. We have joined together to implement into classrooms and the community our Socially Safe, Socially Fun, Social Media programs. We are Moms of kids between the ages of 8 to 15, so we understand the need to help our kids stay safe and create a positive digital footprint. Social Media is not going away and we are passionate about teaching our kids how to use it, have fun and stay Socially Safe.