Pokemon GO has become a gaming sensation, which leaves many parents wondering, "Is this game safe for my kids?" Well, I'm here to tell you that, yes, it is.
In fact, it could be great for your kids and for you as a parent. That being said, there are a few things you may want to know before letting your child go out into the world to play.
While a lot of gamers playing Pokemon GO are doing so in a nostalgic '90s kid way, there are tons of kids newer to the Pokemon universe who are interested as well.
In fact, this may be some kids' first major game that they play. This has some parents concerned that Pokemon GO might be, in some way, inappropriate for their kids.
Are there any safety concerns about the game itself?
The Pokemon franchise (including Pokemon GO) is endorsed and certified by the ESRB as child friendly. There isn't anything in the game content that is even remotely offensive or inappropriate for kids of all ages. (If you're unsure about a game, always check the ESRB ratings, which you can find here.) There isn't a chat feature, either, so there are no online interactions with other players. The game itself is completely alright for your kiddos to play.
What are the safety concerns while playing Pokemon GO?
What you do want to make sure of is where and how your kids are playing Pokemon GO.
Think of it like trick-or-treating or geocaching. If you wouldn't let your kids wander the streets alone, then you shouldn't let them go catch virtual Pokemon alone either. You want to make sure you're with your kids. Ash Ketchum's mom may have let him wander the world at the age of 10, but that's not something you should probably do.
Although there's not much in the way of online interactions, there may be face-to-face interactions with other people who may or may not be playing Pokemon GO. Because this is an augmented reality game that focuses on getting out of the house and finding new places, your child will need to walk around to different places to search for Pokemon, Pokemon Gyms, and PokeStops. Other people playing the game will also be out looking for the same things.
Staying aware of your surroundings is also a must. Kind of a no-brainer, but you need to make sure your kid isn't running into the street or into private property to catch a Doduo or Ponyta. You can even use this opportunity to teach your kids some basic rules of being aware of places and people around them.
Pokemon GO is safe and fun for your kids, and for you!
As a gamer parent, I can wholeheartedly say that it is the most awesome and fun experience playing games with your kids. Pokemon GO only adds to that, as you can explore with your kids as well.
Plus, Pokemon Go is a great excuse to go visit National Parks.
Pokemon Gyms and PokeStops are usually at places of historical or cultural significance. For example, a statue of a town's founder or an art museum may be somewhere of interest. Even if you're not a gamer, playing Pokemon GO with your kids can lead to some interesting conversations and learning for everyone. Some businesses are even hopping on the bandwagon for people coming in to catch Pokemon, so maybe make a day of it and get some ice cream or do some shopping while you're out.
Just being together is good for bonding with your kids, but exploring and having fun together can lead to experiences that you and your children can talk about and remember for years to come. By playing with your kids and getting into the game with them, you're making Pokemon GO more than just a video game. You're creating an adventure.