Pokemon Go + Parenting Wisdom

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So, Pokemon Go. Are you catching them all?

I’m sure not, but to say it has my youngest enamoured would be an understatement. I wasn’t going to touch on it, but the more I read online, the more I shake my head.

The first posts I read about it were fear based. Things like, did you know your child’s location has to be turned on and that it uses data! Watch your bill for the huge suck that it’s going to be on your phone plan. Things like, be warned about the in-app purchases and the lures that your kid might walk towards, hidden in a dark alley while someone evil and scary awaits.

Have you heard of geocaching? Right. But geocaching is dubbed as good family fun! A way to get your kids outdoors and be adventurous. A great activity for quiet summer days to bring out the investigation skills in your child. Who knows, they may be the next Sherlock Holmes!

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We do understand that Pokemon Go and Geocaching are the same thing, right? That to geocache you have to enable location services, that it uses data and that other people may be out looking for the same cache that you are. We were so thankful for the time that we were out searching and a car drove by yelling, “Wrong side of the street!” THANK YOU, you gloriously gracious people.

The more days that pass and the more incidents I hear all related to this one silly app,  the more I roll my eyes and shake my head in full on teenage fashion.

You walked into a highway? Your kids were out alone? You fell off a cliff?

Since when did we decide that because something had the word Pokemon in the title that we could simply abandon all sense of logic?

As I overheard one person say, “Stupid’s gonna find a way!”

Now I’m not saying that the people who were mugged or hurt are stupid. Don’t get all riled up. But what I am hearing is that people are leaving good sense behind when it comes to this app and I just fail to understand.

If we don’t let our kids walk around town unattended without a phone in hand, why would we let them with a phone in hand?

If we don’t feel like we should enable location services on our devices, then why would an app change that?

If we don’t have a data plan big enough to handle a simple gps then why would we hand our phone over to our children for endless hours of play?

I contend, it’s not Pokemons problem. It’s a human problem.

Nobody said your child has to have this app. Nobody said they should wander the streets without a parent. Nobody said it was wise to walk while staring down at a device.

It seems to me we’re too easily swayed, friends.

If location services has always been a no in your family, stick to your guns and don’t let them play. But maybe do a little searching into why. Is it fear based or is it legit?

If going out by themselves isn’t something you allow then keep the house rules the house rules. Pokemon does not win here. Wise parenting does.

We know it’s against the law to operate a device while driving and no officer is ever going to let you off because you were about to nab a Pikachu, so probably we should stick to the laws of the land.

It’s not rocket science, people. We are to parent out of wisdom not because our kids are whining for something. When did that change?

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He walked to Starbucks with me. I take that as a parenting win!

Maybe if we go back to calling it geocaching it’ll sound nerdy and the allure will wear off quicker. But for now it hasn’t in our home and so I’m going to leash up the dog and walk around the neighbourhood with my son, y’know, like we always do in the evening. Sure, there’s a bit more of a spring in his step on these walks lately, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m going to tell him to look up when he’s walking and if he wants to look at a screen he can stop and check it. Y’know, like has always been the case. We’ll probably even keep our eyes aware of who might be around us, like we usually do.  And I’m going to bank that we’ll make wise decisions about where we are and aren’t going to walk, y’know, like normal.

Parents, please don’t abandon wisdom for an app and please don’t let an app fill you with fear. Neither is good. Instead find the balance in the tension of your normal parenting days and follow through with the things your family has deemed important.

We liked geocaching. Well, the kids did. I tolerated it. So, we’ll Pokemon in the same way. An activity that we all do together sometimes. And when we do, we have a pretty great time!

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