Pokémon Go. The present craze with both kids and adults alike.
Why, I even know people who are busy trading their brand new phones because it doesn’t support the app! I am sure you know a few Pokémon Go fans and seen them engrossed in the game.
I worry when I see children and teenagers go crazy about it and the risk that comes with it.
From planned robberies and driving accidents all the way to being lured by sexual predators, the game goes from innocent fun to harsh reality. Makes you wonder, should you let your kids play Pokémon Go? No doubt it is fun, so why not teach them how to play safely?
My friend Amy Williams, who is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two, shares how to teach your kids to play Pokémon Go safely. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety.
7 tips to make sure your kids play Pokémon Go safely
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must be familiar with the phrase “Gotta catch them all” by now.
Welcome to the world of Pokémon Go, which allows people armed with a cell phone to hunt for virtual monsters with the Pokémon Go App using GPS which simulates real-world locations in real-time.
But as fun as Pokémon Go is, it is also a huge safety hazard, particularly for children, because it’s primarily an outdoor game. There have been reports of people being robbed and hurting themselves in their search for more Pokémons. Not surprisingly, the obsession among children for the game has raised concerns among parents for their safety.
Still, the game gives children a good opportunity to leave the couch and explore their surroundings. Here are a few tips that will ensure your child remains safe while playing Pokémon Go outdoors and also enjoys the game to the fullest.
Teach your child to be always aware of surroundings
One of the biggest problems about Pokémon Go is that children become so engrossed while playing the game that they simply have no idea about what’s going on around them. This can lead to accidents while crossing the road, getting mugged or trespassing into someone’s private property. To avoid this, strictly instruct your child to always check if they are in familiar surroundings as they hunt for virtual monsters. Tell them to stop playing the game while crossing the road and not to enter anyone’s private property just to capture rare Pokémons.
Ensure your child is never alone
Most ugly incidents have occurred when a child has been playing the game alone. Make sure that your child is in the company of friends while playing Pokémon Go outdoors and that he or she leaves the house only with a group of friends you can trust.
Before your child leaves the house to catch more Pokémons, make sure that you know which Pokéstops (places where the virtual monsters can be found) they plan to visit. If these Pokéstops are located in unsafe places, stop your child from visiting them, even if it means losing some rare Pokémons. Also make sure that your child returns before its dark and fix a time for returning home.
Stay in touch
Tell your child to call you every once in awhile and update you about the location where the game is being played. You should also confirm if your child is still with the same group of friends and hasn’t been separated from them.
Portable chargers a must
Pokémon Go is a heavy app and drains a cell phone’s battery pretty fast. This means if the phone battery dies, your child will be unable to contact you in case of an emergency. Always make sure your child is carrying a fully charged phone along with a portable charger or power bank to ensure that you can remain in touch throughout the time the game is being played outdoors.
Children will always be children and often get into fights over capturing Pokémons. You can prevent your child from being hurt by instructing them not to get into fights with older children and to stay away from places frequented by people who are older than their age.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!
What could be more fun and safer for your child than installing the game yourself and joining in to hunt the virtual monsters. This will not only ensure that your child is never out of sight, but will also allow you to spend some quality time with them. After all, why should children alone have all the fun?