You would be lying if you said that at some point since the start of this weekend you have not heard the words ‘Pokemon Go’. It’s all the kids are talking about and in the news in stories-some negative and some positive. I was a bit reluctant to play at first because the very first time I heard about Pokemon Go was a news flash about an armed robbery that occurred in our local area because of the app. Then I moved on in my feed and saw Pokemon Go again in an article warning of it being a tool for child predators. But living in a small town I was encouraged by a game that got my son away from video games and be motivated myself to walk outdoors. So we stayed in our street and gave it a try yesterday.
On our first outing we ran into a neighbor kid who has played since the weekend so he was a help and tagged along with us. Neighbors asked if we were playing Pokemon Go when they saw us walking with the phone. We found some Pokemon in streets near surrounding neighborhoods and kept walking….
At one pointy we found a cat who ‘talked’ to us constantly and followed us like a dog. My son and I were laughing so hard at this vocal cat and it was the coolest cat (who thought it was a dog) I had ever met. Soon later a man comes from his garage calling his cat (yes, like it is a dog). I commented on how cool his cat is and he agreed and we chatted. Met a new neighbor briefly.
We passed another family across the road holding cell phones and we exchanged a quick hello and nod that they are also Pokemon hunting. We decided to head back as we felt we exhausted our neck of the woods and as I peeked at my phone I realized we had been out walking for over an hour. We agreed to wait until 7pm and head back out to find the night Pokemon.
Our night hunt was not as eventful as we chased a Pokemon spot that was about 3/4 of a mile from our home. We met a man outside doing yard work-told him he has a Pokemon in his yard and he was a bit amused. My son could not find it and that is when a man came by-holding his cell up-obviously playing as well. He stated he was doing it on his road to try it out before deciding if his young son would be engaged enough to play. After we both struggled for a bit we had a server error message so my son and I headed back home. No luck on night 1. We were forced to go home.
Day 2: playdate planned to take my son and his friend to another neighborhood nearby! We had phone and connection issues on his friends phone, my son found some Pokemon Gyms and a PokeStop, but with his friends phone having issues we stopped at the park in that neighborhood for a bit and re-planned anew play date another day to come back and do some hunting in this neighborhood of Pokemon Gold as the boys called it. They even dressed the part-wore backpacks and caps just like their Avatar wears. Imagination and role play sparked indeed.
So, while you read articles in your feed that warn you against it, I say that with safety such as going along with your child and at daylight (night mode starts about 7pm on our phone time and it is still light for hours), then it is such a great activity. Not only have we met new neighbors, walked a few miles in 2 days but we have found paths near us we never knew were there and a park we didn’t know about so close by. And I forgot to mention that when the boys stopped at the park we discovered because of our Pokemon hunt, they ran into 2 other class friends. So get outside! If nothing else has motivated you, then download Pokemon Go and tell the kids you’re going hunting. It’s a fun family game.