Friday, July 29, 2016

Pokemon Go Safety Tips for Parents

Today's guest post is from Amy K. WilliamsAmy K. Williams is mother of two and a former social worker, specializing in teen behavioral issues. Parenting is her passion and she is especially involved in spreading the word about positive parenting techniques.

Pokemon Go Safety Tips for Parents 

There’s something strange in our neighborhoods, and it isn’t resurgence of The Ghostbusters. Within the last few weeks, the Pokemon Go craze has skyrocketed in popularity around the world. Suddenly, adults, teenagers, children, and even toddlers are trying to collect Pokemon using mobile phones and devices. While this game is a great way to get people outdoors and interacting with others, this app can expose our younger ones to some hidden dangers.

Overnight, our children began clammering to go outside walking, begging to take the dog for just another walk, and roaming groups of people started searching our neighborhoods in droves on a quest to hunt down virtual creatures. As our children head to the streets, far too often they forget basic safety skills important for their well being. Thankfully, there are a few guidelines we can implement to empower our kids to safely play Pokemon Go.

12 Essential Tips For Safely Playing Pokemon Go

  • Download the game and play as a family. If you can’t beat them, join them. This app has a lot of potential for families to get outside and bonding over the quest to catch as many Pokemon as possible. Get in on the action and take advantage of these new opportunities for valuable family time for all ages.

  • Play in groups. There is safety in numbers and having a friend or two along will provide a small safety net. Partnering with friends can reduce the likelihood that they will be targeted by criminals, pedophiles, or more. Plus, it is more fun and challenging!

  • Play during daylight. This game is a wonderful way to explore the neighborhood, but parents should consider limiting their children’s walking or biking after dark. This will eliminate a variety of safety concerns and provide your child some down time.

  • Inform kids how to be aware of their surroundings. Many accidents are happening, because our children are watching their screens instead of where they are walking or they are playing in undesirable areas that harbor unforeseen dangers. Teach children to avoid stopping in the middle of the street, encourage them to stop walking before looking at their screens, and always play in public areas.

  • Have them tell you their plans and routes. Depending on a child’s age, they may be heading out to the local gym or Poke stop without you. Stay in the know by asking for an itinerary or places they plan on walking and make sure they check in every now and then to keep you informed.

  • Set boundaries. Younger children and tweens might be tempted to roam out of the neighborhood on their hunts. Take a few minutes and designate a clear perimeter of the areas they are allowed to explore.

  • Wear bright colors or reflective clothing. A child’s increased mobility and walking habits are good things, but they need to increase their pedestrian safety by being more visible to drivers.

  • Set the game to vibrate when a Pokemon is nearby. This will allow a child to pay attention to their surroundings, but they can carry their phones in their pockets or hands. They will still be able to participate without missing a chance to snatch a new critter and know where they are walking.

  • Limit “in app” purchases. This game is highly addictive, fueling the temptation to buy additional products to enhance the experience. Depending on a child’s age, avoid linking a payment method to their phone or help them set a budget. While spending money doesn’t affect a child’s safety, it can affect your wallet.

  • Don’t drive and hunt. Stress the importance of putting down devices while driving and not impeding traffic. If needed, take turns being the designated driver or pullover and walk. It might also be a wise idea to remind young drivers to be on the lookout for distracted pedestrians or other drivers.

  • Keep a portable battery charger on hand. The interactive nature of this app can cause devices to drain power fast, resulting in a dead battery leaving no way to get in touch with us. Purchase a small battery charger to keep in a child’s pocket or bag in case of an emergency or an extended bout of Poke hunting.

  • Stress good manners. Encourage children to be polite, stay on sidewalks, and be respectful of other people’s property. A little etiquette can keep children from encountering angry homeowners or extreme players.

How do you teach your kids to safely “catch them all” while playing Pokemon Go?

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