Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve likely heard of Pokémon Go.
It’s been big in the news, on social media, and just about everywhere else you look.
But what exactly is this new craze sweeping the nation, and what do parents need to know about the game capturing the minds of kids and adults alike?
What Is Pokémon Go?
Ok, so Pokémon Go is a mobile game that is location-based augmented reality. It’s free to play and uses your phone’s GPS and camera in order to blend your actual location with a Pokémon Go augmented reality. The aim of the game is to capture all the Pokémon, a blend of the words pocket and monster. These Pokémon wander freely about the world, just waiting to be caught with Pokéballs. Also in the game, real world landmarks become PokéStops and gyms, where you can collect new items, and battle other Pokémon to level up and advance.
What You Need To Know
1. There Are In-App Purchases
The Pokémon Go app is free to download and to play. However, there are in-app purchases that parents will need to talk to their kids about, and keep an eye on to make sure they aren’t racking up an enormous Pokémon bill. Players of Pokémon Go can use real world money to purchase PokéCoins, the in-game currency of the Pokémon Go app. These coins can then, in turn, be used to buy additional things in the game, from equipment to Pokémon lures.
2. It Does Encourage Activity
You might be thinking “not another game to stop my kids from getting a dose of exercise”, but unlike most other mobile games, Pokémon Go actually encourages players to get outside, walk around, and cover distances. There are two reasons for this. First, players need to walk to new places to find Pokémon in the wild, so there’s a motivator to get out to new locations. Second, players need to cover distances to hatch Pokémon eggs, so there’s a motivator to actually exercise!
3. You Need To Be Aware
Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game, which means that it’s based off the real world, but it exists within your phone. The thing that both parents and kids need to remember about this is that it’s easy to get caught up playing the game, but players need to be aware that they are walking around in the real world. Make sure your kids know to look up regularly, taking their eyes off the screen to check out their surroundings and make sure they’re safe to continue.