Pokemon Go – Is It Good For Kids?

We hid it as long as we could, but we ultimately failed. We were walking into a shop last week and my ten-year-old overheard some teens hanging out around the entrance and he asked, “What are they all doing with their phones and why are they talking about Pokemon?” That was it folks. We told him about Pokemon Go.

By the time we left the store it was downloaded on a phone and he was “catching some of them” on the ride home. But my fear was that he was the one captured. Screen addiction seems to be a real thing. I mean look at this sunset he missed because he was staring the screen:

Pokemon_Go_Sunset
Look at this sunset he missed.

What’s interesting is the effect the virtual reality app has had on kids’ desires to sit inside or brave this summer heat. In some cases it’s almost miraculous. According to Bloomberg, the data being shared by health apps and activity tracker companies is pointing up:

  • Citing numbers from a fitness band manufacturer, users almost DOUBLED their active steps from 6k a week to 11k a week.
  • An Apple Watch app that tracks heart rate said that 53% of its users were more active due to being out playing Pokémon Go.
  • Some folks using the My Fitness Pal app have started labeling some of their walking workouts as “Pokemon Go”

See the whole article here. I know that day my child ran around the fields well into twilight. And it’s hard to argue with actual data from app developers. But is there a cost?

Will kids be conditioned to think that the great outdoors is best seen through a screen?

Pokemon Go
No looking for fireflies this night.

Most of the other parents I’ve talked to around the neighborhood have been all for it. I guess we’ll see if this really does keep kids off the couch or if it’s a one month fad. What happens when they run out of Pokémon to catch? Make more? Ditch the app? Will kids be conditioned to think that the great outdoors is best seen through a screen?

I have to admit that I haven’t seen an Pokémon Go players out on the trails behind the house. Maybe Pokémon are not creatures of the forest? Or I bet, like we all know, trails and hiking can be hard work. I imagine the designers of the game just found it easier to tether their virtual Pokémon creatures to known landmarks rather than trek off into the woods and sweat for it.

Pokemon Go phone
It drained the batteries faster than his desire to run around outside chasing fake creatures.

Which in the end could be a good thing. Let the Pokémon rule the city, Bambi the woods and Hobbits the shire.

What are your thoughts on Pokemon Go? Is it good for your kids?