Unless you have been living under a rock over the past week, no doubt you have heard of the latest Pokemon app. You may even be sick of hearing about it. Here is what it is all about and why it may be a good idea to embrace this new app!

Pokemon Go challenges kids to explore the real world in search of Pokemon. So roads, paths, parks etc are on the Pokemon app in animated form. When you come across a Pokemon, the phone vibrates and you have an opportunity to throw a ball at it in an effort to catch it. The goal is to “catch them all.” Pretty simple right? Well then there are gyms, pokestops and teams, but we will keep it basic for now!

Why parents can get behind Pokemon Go!

Encourages exploration.
You aren’t going to find many different kinds of Pokemon in your bedroom. So kids need to get outdoors and take a walk, go to the library, the park, or the trails to find more! This means we can coax them away from the house and video game to get more Pokemon.

Gets kids moving.
Players can collect eggs that will hatch Pokemon but in order to hatch them, kids need to move a certain number of steps. It works by walking or even skateboarding but not driving. The egg won’t hatch for 5 km. This means kids have to stay active to get a new Pokemon and the experience points that come with it.

Different locations will have different Pokemon.
I found three at the playground in Paxton just this morning. (I had to download the game for research only of course). Places like the Ecotarium, the Worcester Library and The Worcester Art Museum have posted photos on social media of the Pokemon they have found on their premises. This means these institutions are encouraging kids to come play on their grounds!

Some Cautions
Make sure to talk to your kids about staying alert when playing the game. With a head buried in the phone, people are forgetting about their surroundings and getting injured! The game can be addicting, so this is definitely something that should be addressed.

Let common sense prevail and remind kids of this, too. Just because a spot on their map is a pokestop or a pokegym, doesn’t mean they should go there. Stick to places that are familiar and safe — libraries, restaurants, post offices, parks and other kid-friendly places are all pokestops and gyms. There is no need to put oneself in an unsafe place at 2:00am, for the sake of a game. This is where the game is getting a bad rap in the news!

This is a video game that I can get behind – even if people look kind of foolish playing it — at least they are outdoors, getting exercise and frequenting local places they may not have otherwise. I can’t wait to see which pokemon I find on the rail trail tonight. For research, of course.

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