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 Pokemon Go - Staying Safe

Has your child gone Pokemon Wild?

Article by Michael Grose

Published 21 July 2016

Pokemon Go! What a craze!

Beats just about any fad I’ve seen including yo yo’s, swap cards and the original Pokemon Gameboy way back in the old days – remember the 90’s.

While Pokemon Go is geared toward adults and teenagers it’s taken off among primary aged children –even some pre school kids – as well. Both genders are playing the game, but a rough count among colleagues and friends indicates that it’s boys more than girls that are hooked on the game.

Pokemon Go has plenty of psychological hooks to make boys love it. The roam and search nature of the game appeals to the hunter-gatherer that exists in most boys. There are plenty of things to collect which appeals to a boy’s fundamental need to put order and control in his world.

And the competitive element embedded in the game makes it almost irresistible to many boys who love nothing better than to better someone else.

How can we approach this craze?

Many parents have asked me how they should approach the Pokemon Go craze, particularly when their children are besotted by it.

Start by accepting that Pokemon Go, like all fads, has captured your child’s interest. It’s hard to fight against or even stop your child from being involved in games that ‘everyone is playing’.

That leads to two parenting requirements. First, find out all you can about the game so you know what you are up against. Ask your child to explain what it’s all about. Figure out which parts of the game are age-appropriate and which parts are going to present you with headaches. Once kids are old enough to have their own phones and transportation, they’re certainly old enough to play the game without help. Pokémon Go gives users plenty of chances to spend real money, so you probably will want to limit in-game purchases.

Lures, an aspect of the game, can present tricky situations for parents. A player can set out a lure to attract pokémon, but because these lures can be seen by any nearby player, you’re not sure who they are attracting. Revisit those Stranger Danger lessons with your kids.

Second, you need to meld your existing family technology rules with the expectations and opportunities that Pokemon Go presents. These include, how much time children are allowed to spend on technology; consider what activities Pokemon Go takes kids away from (including homework); and be aware that's is not healthy for your child to be hooked on one activity at the expense of everything else.

Keep your Pokemon Go player safe

Pokemon Go gets kids outside roaming and exploring their neighbourhoods, which on the surface, is a good thing. However as one mum told me her son's Pokemon Go experience was leading them to a local quarry, which had some obvious risks attached. So if your kids are old enough to wander unsupervised some quick reminders of safety rules maybe in order, such as crossing a street with a phone in their pocket and only playing the game with kids their own age.

If you join in the craze then be prepared to drive your players around as many Pokemon stops are in interesting places such as parks, historical markers and other gathering spots. Different places have different Pokemon things to collect…..yes, it can get complicated, which is the intrinsic value of the craze.

So my advice for parents is to approach Pokemon Go positively and intelligently. Discover about it as much as your time, your current circumstances and your kids will allow. Join them if possible. Remember, it’s a lot of fun; it does get kids exercising more than their thumbs and there are some great learnings (maths, nature and even history) built in to the game. On the other hand, ensure that kids keep a balance in their activities so that a fun craze doesn’t become an absolute, all or nothing obsession- which can so easily happen with boys.

 

 

Be aware when playing Pokemon Go: Alert Priority Moderate

Article by Australian Government - Stay Smart Online

Published 25 July 2016

News media are reporting on a range of incidents involving players of the highly popular augmented reality mobile game Pokemon Go, including near-misses between cars and pedestrians and youths being fined after playing while driving, crowds of players allegedly being waterbombed by residents near a park in Sydney’s west and players allegedly being robbed at gunpoint in a southern Sydney park.

These reports highlight a number of risks that players may unnecessarily subject themselves to when playing the game. Stay Smart Online recommends that if you play Pokemon Go or other similar games, you familiarise yourself with these risks and endeavour to avoid them at all times.

Pokemon Go enables players to catch digital creatures called Pokemon that appear on smartphone screens in real-world surroundings.     

Staying safe

You are advised to remain aware of your external environment when playing Pokemon Go and to pay attention to all warnings from police and other government authorities.
Tasmania Police has warned players to ‘never Pokemon and drive’, pointing out that it is ‘not legal or safe to drive while using a mobile phone,’ and ‘when chasing Pokemon on foot, please look up, pay attention to your surroundings and watch where you are going. Be alert when crossing the road and never stand in the middle of busy roads.’

Tasmania Police added that players 'should not go onto private property or areas they would otherwise not go if they weren’t playing the game.’ In a similar warning on Facebook, Western Australian Police advise players that ‘I was collecting ‘Pokemon’ is not a legal defence against trespassing.’ The Western Australian service also advised players to 'tell their families when they were going out, where they were going and when they expected to be home.’  

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Office of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner (OCeSC) have jointly advised of risks such as:

 

•    locations that could be unsuitable for young players and also adults

•    child players being too young to play the game unsupervised

•    interacting with others who are not suitable for the child

•    walking while looking at a phone while playing.


As well as advising players to ‘remember the real world – look up!’, ACMA and the OCeSC advise parents to talk to children about the games they’re playing and understand what is involved, and to set boundaries based on the child’s age and family values.