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How to Keep Your Kids Safe While Playing Pokémon Go

posted: 07/11/16
by: Amanda Mushro
Young boy playing on cell phone
iStock

As soon as Pokemon Go became available for download, Pokemon fever has swept the nation. If you've already played the game or you're thinking of downloading the app for your kids, here's what you need to know and how to keep your kids safe while they play this interactive app.

Here's the basics of the game:

The game uses your phone's GPS location to create a map of your current location and then superimpose it into the game. In Pokemon Go, you are a Pokemon trainer, and your job is to find Pokemon that are near you, capture them, make them more powerful, and later battle your Pokemon to take control of local gyms. Got all that?

What makes this game so unique is that it uses your exact location and movements in the game. So when you move, the game moves. When you see a Pokemon, they are superimposed over your current location. So if you're in your bedroom and you see a Pokemon on the map, you'll actually see the character moving and jumping around on your bed. Cool, right?

The game gets you up and moving, which is a nice change from most apps, and it adapts to your surrounding and certain Pokemon will appear based on your geographical location. If you are near water, the water type Pokemon will appear. For certain elements of the game, you have to keep walking. So exercise, a fun game that the whole family can play together, and awesome technology no wonder everyone is loving this game! But there can be some dangers involved with the game. Here's what you need to know to keep your kids safe while playing the summer's hottest game.

Make Sure They Are Aware of their Surroundings- As soon as the game was released, so were the pictures and posts all over social media of people getting injured because they were looking at their phones and not their surroundings. If a Pokemon is near, the phone will vibrate. So make sure your kids are keeping their eyes on their surroundings so they don't injure themselves.

Set Limits and Boundaries- While the Pokemon Go app uses Google's maps to build the game, sometimes it may look like the Pokemon seem to be located inside homes, in building, or on busy streets. Be sure to remind your kids of the dangers involved so they never enter a home or building as well as never risking their safety by crossing busy roads.

Choose a Non-identifying Username- While there is no chat features in this game where players can communicate, certain parts of the game can make your child's username and location visible to anyone playing. When a player approaches a gym to do battle, their username will appear to anyone in the area who is also near the gym. Have your children choose usernames that aren't their actual name. This is also a great time to remind them of stranger danger, which leads to our next tip.

Encourage Them To Play With Someone Else- Have your kids take a buddy with them as they play Pokemon Go, or better yet, why don't you join in the fun? When playing with a friend or in a small group, kids can be aware of their surroundings and also of strangers in their surroundings. The game's map is not unique to just your child, so at times, they will run into other players--like at PokeStops, gyms, and when using lures. While these could be fun interactions with other players, it could also be very dangerous if your child.

The Game Does Drain Your Battery- While I love the idea of kids exploring their surroundings and getting out and moving, I feel better knowing kids have cellphones in case of an emergency. Since this game uses a lot of your phone's resources, it will drain your battery and if your child has been playing for a while, they could end up away from home with a dead battery.

 

 

 

 

 


Here’s what you need to know and how to keep your kids safe while they play this interactive app.