Those of you who know me know that Pokemon is one of my least favorite things in the whole, wide world.
I struggled through Owen’s crazy Pokemon stage a few summers ago, trying to learn to distinguish Charizard from Charmeleon and Pidgey from Pidgeotto so that I could try to understand what he was talking about–all the livelong day.
Maddy, Cora, my husband and I tried to play Pokemon, flipping cards and talking about evolutions and attacks and CP and EX (probably wrong letters–I can’t even remember). It was rough. I remember saying to Owen: Listen. I have tried. I cannot play Pokemon. I do not understand it, I totally and completely don’t get it. Please–I’ll play anything else with you. Anything but Pokemon.
So believe me, this past winter, when Owen told me that he wanted to sell his Pokemon cards in order to buy a new game for the Xbox, I had photos and a listing online before he even finished his sentence. Crazy, I know. But the cards sold in no time flat for above his asking price.
What is it about Pokemon that kids love?
I’ll never know.
But what I do know is that PokemonGO is all the craze this summer, and it’s hit our house hard.
Of course, when I contracted my Owen to sit down and answer a few questions about this game, he was totally up for it. So here you are, my friends: the answer to the million dollar question of the summer: What IS PokemonGo and what do parents need to know?
Here’s the skinny. . .
PokemonGO — What It Is and What Parents Need to Know:
Like I said, Owen helped me out with this post.
We have a family PokemonGO account, so we play on my phone as a family. That way, it’s more closely monitored, and no one is running off on his or her own.
I drafted a few questions to guide Owen’s post. The questions are in bold.
What IS PokemonGO?
Pokemon go is an app that kids, teens, and adults are playing. It is based on pokemon.
Why do kids love it?
Kids love it because it is a game where you can choose your own path and which pokemon to catch or run from.
What’s all the hype about this game? How is it different from all other games?
It is a real-world game. It asks if the app can allow your camera to see pokemon.
What are kids saying about the game?
It is really fun finding pokemon. Once you get one, you get EXP, which levels you up. That means you move up a level.
Why are adults–and teens–playing this game?
It is an interactive and solo game for everyone.
What are some words associated with the game and what do they mean? What are some common words or terms that you’d hear when people talk about the game?
- Pokeball- a ball to catch pokemon.
- Pokemon- an animal, plant, or thing that you use to fight with.
- CP- Combat power – how strong a pokemon is.
- Pokestop a place in reality that gives you items.
- Gym- a place pokemon battle.(when 2 pokemon fight to take control of the gym.)
- Teams- Yellow(team Instinct), Red(team Valor), and blue(team Mystic)
How do you get on a team?
By catching pokemon, you get EXP that levels you up. Once you’re on level 5, you can join a team.
There’s a warning that comes up when this game loads. What is the warning, and why is it important?
Remember to be aware at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings. It is important because people are getting injured because they don’t look up from the screen and bump into things.
Is this a safe game for kids? Why or why not?
Yes, but some people are not looking up from their phone and walking into streets, etc. and getting injured.
Take a look at this quick video from the PokemonGo site:
Here are a few more things parents need to know before allowing kids to run free with this app:
- It’s addicting. Really. You kind of always want to know what wild Pokemon are around you wherever you go.
- It eats a boatload of data. Really, keep an eye on it, and talk to your kids about it. If they are on the app for an extended amount of time, they may blow a whole month’s worth of data in a few hours.
- Adults and teens are playing it. Be aware that when players get to common areas, or Gyms, there are players of all ages. And any time kids are really into something, you’ve just got to be careful that crazy, sick people don’t try to take advantage of them.
- It’s a battery drainer. Because the GPS is continually running with this game, it will literally zap your battery. Make sure your kids know that if they are out playing this game, that they must bring a portable charger so that they are reachable.
- There are in-app purchase options. If you’re not careful, your kids can really rack up the account. So make expectations crystal clear.
Check out the PokemonGO site.
Read the Common Sense Media PokemonGO review.
Tell me–what are your experiences with this game? Are your kids into it?
Huge and happy thanks to new teachmama.com contributor and overall totally awesome kid, Owen Mascott, for this thoughtful and creative booklist.
Owen is almost 11 years old, heading fifth grade, and his favorite sport is soccer. In the future, he plans to be a professional soccer player and dreams of one day receiving in invitation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
If you want or need a start, here:
This post is part of our Digital Kids series:
Read more about raising digital kids:
- help kids start a blog
- analog twitter wall
- game design for kids
- get kids started with texting
- texting as a learning tool
- helping kids use powerpoint
- digital wellness
- beach learning
- keep kids safe online
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