Have your kids inexplicably gotten up from the couch for the first time this summer?
Are they asking to go places?
Do you see people wandering the streets with their phones in front of them?
Welcome to an insanely addictive phenomenon that is spreading throughout kids – and yes, adults – everywhere!
Quite simply, Pokémon Go uses your phone’s GPS system to detect where and when you are in the game and make Pokémon “appear” around you using your phone’s camera so you can go and catch them. As you move around your neighborhood parks and shopping areas, different types of Pokémon appear depending on where you are and time of day.
The idea for the game was conceived in 2013 by Satoru Iwata of Nintendo and Tsunekazu Ishihara of The Pokémon Company as an April Fools’ Day collaboration with Google called Pokémon Challenge, with Tatsuo Nomura of Google Maps.
The game was officially released in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand on July 6, 2016, but due to server strain from high demand upon release, the release was paused until bugs were worked out.
I came home from out of town for the weekend and my introverted daughter stated she was addicted and had been out talking with strangers, and so being a good parent I downloaded it to see what she was up to.
My first experience was at my office where I walked out to inspect a sculpture out front. I was approached by 3 teenagers who showed me how to “spin” the dial that appeared in front of me. There I collected Pokémon balls and occasionally an egg. I was dumbfounded that a bunch of tween/teenagers had actually approached an adult and initiated a conversation – they walked off and wished me luck.
HOW TO PLAY:
When I got home from work I took my kids over to the 1st Bank Center – an events center surrounded by parks and stores at Hwy 36 and 287 in Broomfield. There we found Pokéstops (you just have to spin the “sign” that appears) where we collected Pokéballs, incense (lures Pokémon to your location) and eggs. Sometimes they have confetti around them and there we found lure modules and extra Pokémon.
Pokémon training centers are where you battle people, working up through 5 levels to try to rule the center. Apparently this gives you toys and rewards if you can hold it.
If you have low level “extra” Pokémon – you can sell them to the professor for candies that help your pets level up and evolve into more rare versions.
For more information and geek hints, check out this article.
That’s the basics – so what do we parents need to know?
TIPS FOR PARENTS:
- They are called Pokémon, and “NOT CALLED ANIMALS” (yep, I was yelled at for calling them “those little animals” – ha)
- This gets your kids out of the house – seriously – I have never seen so many kids – normally the sulky types that slink around the house – out on skateboards and actually (wait for it) talking to people! Several parents reported their kids running around outside late into the evening collecting!
- People (adults and kids alike) also stand in the middle of the street – we witnessed more than one adult – standing and staring at their phones while cars honked at them, so make sure you look where you’re going.
- Your kids will actually like exercise, but remind them to put on sunscreen and bug spray (we stood for quite a while in parks and in front of sculptures – it’s hard work, people).
- They will talk to strangers – as a parent I can see this as a plus and a negative, but in this day and age mostly a plus. Be sure you know where they’re going and send them with a friend. Have you all spoken to your kids about stranger danger?
- Apparently Google can see who’s playing and where they are – if you’re on the paranoid (or careful) side you might want to create a new Google profile that makes you anonymous and not link your game to your main Google account.
- Yes, someone found a dead body, and yes, there was a rumor someone was lured to a robbery – so know where your kids are and again, make sure they have a buddy.
- It completely decimates your charger, so you might want to buy portable chargers (shameless promotion: that’s an affiliate link to Amazon) so you can collect on your walk home.
- It’s going to be a cultural phenomenon, so you might as well learn about it now (already showing up on social media):
- Go with your kids and have some fun – it really is a good way to connect with your kids, your neighbors and meet some interesting people. We had conversations with construction workers, people on their lunchbreaks, and my kids met up with other kids they hadn’t seen since school let out.
So what did we miss? Do you have any tips/hints of your own to add?