Pokemon Go: A parent’s guide

Pokemon Go launched earlier this month, and in just over a week, now has more daily users than Twitter! It is set to be a massive craze for young people over the summer.

What is Pokemon Go?

Pokemon Go is an app enabling users to create a character (any name) and partake in a mobile version of the Pokemon game.

The app is FREE, however there are in app purchase available. Once downloaded the app will use the Geo location enabled through the phone to identify the location of the user. A map will show the user the location of nearby Pokemon.

The idea of the game is to move towards the Pokemon to capture it and increase your game status. This is achieved by throwing a virtual ball on the screen at the character, some are harder to catch than others.

Characters are widespread and there do not appear to be rules as to where they can be found although popular spots do appear to have more. Local popular spots are; the Frome Flyer, Frome Sports Center and many churches and local land marks.

Many of the original features of the Pokemon games are embedded and this will include Gym’s. This is where players congregate to use their Pokemons to fight Gym leader Pokemons in the Gym in order to improve fighting skills and status. In the new Go version players will come across Gym’s during their travels. If they have the necessary skill level and experience they can enter this virtual gym and take part in fights. There are popular Gym’s where (set up as a virtual Gym) players will physically attend in order to fight. These can be anywhere but tend to be in public open well known spaces.

The risks with Pokemon Go

There are loads of good things about the game, and there’s a reason it’s become so popular. But it’s important to learn the risks involved:

  • Meeting people they don’t know face-to-face
    The game is designed to bring people together. Usually strangers. So you never know who they might meet.
  • There’s a physical risk
    It’s easy to forget to look where you’re going with this game, but they need to be careful of where they end up. There are already stories of people being lured to places that aren’t safe for children.
  • It can cost a lot of money
    There are in-app purchases and other incentives which can cost up to £79.99 (14,500 Pokécoins). Make sure the app’s set up without payment options.
  • Access to personal data
    Pokémon Go asks for personal information like your child’s birth date and email address, which they’re asked to enter or receive through social media accounts. Parents have the right to contact the creators to stop them from using their personal information.

As with everything, a set of rules and honest conversation will avoid many of the issues and allow your children to enjoy what is an engaging and fun game. In this case many of the rules that are already taught are applicable here. Taking care around strangers whether, Pokemon players or not.