Unless you’ve been on vacation avoiding the Internet, you’ve probably heard about the newest, most popular game app. Pokémon GO is all the rage – and is also making some people rage. If you’re wondering whether you should play, here are a few of the benefits.
I downloaded and started playing Pokémon GO with my family the day it came out. We had tons of fun.
A few days later, though, we discovered that not everyone liked the game.
Somehow it became controversial. News stories popped up about bad things that happened to occur while people were playing. If you browsed my neighborhood discussion board, you would think this game was the biggest threat to America.
While it’s easy to focus on the negatives, I think it’s also important to remember that many of the same concerns went viral with other technology trends. Facebook, Instagram, and every Google app has made users wonder about security and safety.
Your smartphone doesn’t make you trespass on private property, text while driving, or walk off a cliff. And if Google really wants to spy on me, they’re going to find me pretty boring.
I believe that people will calm down.
I believe my kids are safe when they are with me in public places in the middle of the day. I’m not naive enough to think that nothing bad can happen to us. But I have to believe that people are mostly nice and places are mostly safe or we would never leave our house.
I don’t want to focus on the news or even how to play the game. You can read an intro to the basics of the game if you need it.
I want to share some of the benefits to playing Pokémon GO that I really enjoy.
Reasons to love Pokémon GO
1. Getting exercise.
I don’t know about you, but I suck at exercising. I’ve tried DVDs, YouTube videos, and a handful of other apps. I always give up after a few days. Maybe I’m just lazy.
Pokémon GO encourages you to walk around to catch new Pokémon, check in at Pokéstops, and battle other players at gyms. It requires you to walk a certain distance to hatch eggs.
2. Mental health.
This kind of goes with exercise, but people who suffer from depression and other mental health issues can benefit from going outside. Sunshine, fresh air, and a change of scenery are often the solution when I’m having a bad day and just want to curl up in a corner and cry.
3. Family fun activity.
My family likes to do a lot of things together. We play board games, visit the library, watch movies, and go to the park. Pokémon GO is basically geocaching, but with virtual finds instead of real ones.
All you need to play is a smartphone, making this a free family activity.
4. Know your neighbors.
Walking around my neighborhood, I’ve met several of my neighbors that live a few houses away from mine. I’ve also had the opportunity to say hi and wave at other Pokémon GO players and people out walking their dogs.
5. Learn about your city.
Most of the Pokéstops are either local landmarks or places with a plaque or historical marker. My family has learned a lot about our local history and residents by reading them.
My daughter, who is 12, has struggled with learning how to get anywhere. She just isn’t great with maps and directions, but since we’ve been playing she’s gotten a lot better at knowing which way is home.
6. Nostalgia for the 90s.
While nostalgia is probably the least impressive motivation for playing, if you played or watched Pokémon in the 90s, it’s also pretty cool.
7. Teaching kids respect.
Perhaps the most important benefit of playing Pokémon GO with your kids or letting your older kids play on their own is respect. Most of the safety guidelines for playing are common sense, but as so many people have said, common sense is not always that common.
Teach your children that they should not trespass on private property and look both ways before crossing the street. Teach your children not to play in solemn spaces like cemeteries. Teach your children not to play in businesses where they wouldn’t shop. Teach your children to be quieter after dark.
All of those things show respect and remind us that nobody has free reign to do as they please whenever and wherever they choose.
Teach your children that they should be kind to others, even if they don’t play the same games as someone else.
Ultimately, Pokémon GO is just another new and popular game that you can play on your smartphone. We’re at that part of the summer where the kids are usually bored and cranky. The kids just want to lay on the couch and watch Netflix all day. Our summer fun budget is running low and I’m looking for new, free entertainment.
The timing was actually just right. We’ll be spending some of our remaining summer days running around town, catching Pokémon, and having fun together.