Pokémon Go is the latest gaming craze sweeping the world. But do parents need to be concerned? You decide with our quick guide to the game and possible problems that it can cause.
What is Pokémon Go?
Pokémon Go is a mobile game available on iOS (so works on iPhones and iPads) and Android devices. It mixes classic Pokémon anime/cartoon characters with augmented reality. What this means is that looking through a phone’s camera shows Pokémon in the real world.
What does it cost?
It is free to download but has in-app purchases. These are usually for extra items but you can play the game for free. Players need to sign-in to the game with some personal information, such as name, age, location and email. The game also requires a mobile internet connection, which may involve an additional cost.
How do you play?
You’ve Gotta Catch ‘Em All! Pokémon has always been about collecting and fighting these cute pocket monsters and Pokémon Go is no different. Except this time you have to walk around with your phone out to collect them, and you have to physically go to Pokémon Gyms (often local landmarks) to fight them. This is done via GPS and an inbuilt map that mirrors real-life.
Is there an age limit?
What are the dangers?
Walking around with your phone out can attract unwanted attention. Nintendo are countering this with the Pokémon Go Plus a Bluetooth device that alerts players of in-game events. It is coming out the end of August and is set to cost £35.
Pokémon Go drains you battery as you need to have the app running, the screen on and the GPS and mobile internet on too. It can also be quite distracting, so watch your step (there’s already been reports of car crashes, with people playing it at the wheel).
The game can be quite social so you may interact with players of all ages. Pokémon Gyms are usually located in places like parks or churches but some are on private property. And there’s always the risk of tantrums, as the game is quite buggy and if the 4G/3G isn’t great, players can lose Pokémon and have to reset the app, which can be frustrating for dedicated players.
What are the positives?
It is encouraging people to get out and about, exploring their local area, meeting new people and generally improving players’ health. Some users with depression have praised the positive role the game is having in their lives. And it’s helping this little boy with autism to interact with other children. Finally, you can play it for free.
Is this just a fad?
Remember Angry Birds? What about Flappy Bird? FarmVille? Mobile gaming seems prone to fads and phases but nothing has exploded quite as big as Pokémon Go. Also previous games haven’t had the same history and affection as the Pokémon franchise does.
The big question seems to be, will people continue to walk around in the wind and rain of autumn and winter playing it? Only time will tell!
Want more Pokémon Go info?
- Check Common Sense Media’s comprehensive guide
- NSPCC also has some top tips
- Internet Matters has a general guide to the game
- Last but not least LifeHacker has A Parent’s Guide to Playing Pokémon Go With Your Kids
So are your kids playing Pokémon Go? Have you embraced it like these parents? Let us know in the comments below!
If you’d like to find out about services available to you and your child in your area or would like to chat about family matters in general, get in touch with the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline.
- Phone: 0300 222 57 57
- Text: 07860 052 905
- Instant message (see top of page)
We are open 6pm – 10pm Monday to Thursday and 10am – 2pm Friday & Saturday.
- 4 Phone Apps To Help You Save Money
- Product Placement, Online Adverts & Your Child
- Cyberbullying & Online Safety
- Safer Internet Day And Your Child
- Keeping The Kids Safe Online On Their New Gadgets
- How Young Is Too Young For Facebook?