Who hasn’t heard of the Pokemon Go craze? All over the world, people have helped the steep rise of Nintendo stock by downloading the game where you gotta catch em all. And then you hear stories like the one about the two men who fell off of a cliff while playing. Or about people playing while behind the wheel. Even more concerning? Vulnerable, distracted adults and children are being lured into danger. So, what are the benefits of playing Pokemon Go and how do you catch em all it safely?
Benefits of Pokemon Go
According to Forbes, playing Pokemon Go can actually be good for you for five reasons.
- Exercise – Pokemon Go has certainly got my kids going on walks again. My five-year-old is obsessed with catching the little creatures and loves taking pictures with them. This also means that I can get some exercise.
- Fresh air – Going outside and getting some fresh air is good for you as well. Plus, you get to soak up some Vitamin D, which more and more Americans are deficient in due to spending so much time indoors.
- Educational – The way Pokemon Go works is that you search for Pokemon, but you also go to Pokéstops and gyms to get more Pokéballs to catch creatures with. A lot of landmarks and historical areas are Pokéstops, so this means you get to explore areas that you perhaps haven’t seen before.
- Connectedness – So, you know that people interact online a lot, but socializing in real life just doesn’t happen normally. Now that people are all out walking around looking for Pokemon, they interact and discuss and play together. It provides a sense of community and connectedness, which is good for our emotional well-being. When I went out walking with my husband searching for Pokemon, some teenagers in our neighborhood noticed and yelled out at us, “Gotta catch em all!” It’s this playfulness and interaction that builds relationships.
- Mental Health – We all need breaks and distractions sometimes. During rough points in the week, I’ve gone out hunting with my kids or my husbands and the distraction has been good for my mental health. It’s also been good for my children, and playing with them has given us another opportunity to play together, which is also good for them.
So, if Pokemon can be good for you, how do you reap these benefits safely? After all, nobody wants to accidentally fall of of a cliff, sprain an ankle, or get hit by a car in search of Pokemon.
[bctt tweet=”Pokemon! Gotta Catch Em All…Safely! #pokemongo #family” username=”embracespectrum”]
Catch Em All…Safely
- Parent Involvement – If you have children old enough to play, make sure they check in with you before going out to hunt for Pokemon. Knowing where they are makes you more aware. For younger or more vulnerable children, it may be best to just go with them. My children don’t even have the game on personal devices of their own. We use my app to play and I walk with them.
- Take a friend – Even as an adult, the buddy system is usually a good idea when you want to stay safe from the predators that exist out there.
- Just say “NO” and teach your children to do the same – Just like we teach children about stranger danger and not getting into cars with strangers offering candy, children also need to say “no” to anyone trying to lure them away to catch Pokemon.
- Open disclosure – Make sure your children also know to tell you if anything weird or alarming happens while playing.
- Watch out! Don’t let the game consume all of your attention. Look out for cars, trees, and, obviously, dangerous drop-offs. The game isn’t worth anyone’s life or safety, after all.
We’ve really enjoyed playing Pokemon Go as a family. And my five-year-old loves donning our “Pokemon-catching hats” to go out for a hunt. For sure, we’ve noticed the benefits of the game, but we do it safely. While this geeky game is sure to be a phase that will fade out over time, we’ll enjoy it while it lasts.