Last week Pokemon GO, an app theoretically for kids, was released and it has already made its way to the #1 download in the iTunes app store. I watched Facebook for a couple of days, seeing people post about what they found, what they were doing with the app, and I thought, “Huh, Silas might like that.” So I read up on it, and downloaded it for my personal phone.
The night I got it, I told Silas after his bath, “Hey, get some clothes and shoes on real quick, we’re going for a walk.” Mike looked at me (as he was bathing Sage) like I was high. “You’re going for a walk now?” “I downloaded the Pokemon thingy. We’re going to hunt Pokemon.”
*Eye roll from Mike.*
I’m sorry “Mr. I Still Play Candy Crush and hog my wife’s iPod to do so,” do you have a problem with that?
My kids are learning about technology – we have Leap Pads that they use maybe weekly, Silas knows how to navigate his profile on Netflix, and Sage and YouTube for kids are best buds (and sometimes I wish I could delete some of these toy vloggers’ accounts). But it’s all “alone” stuff. I figured this was something Silas and I could do together (and maybe we could learn more about Pokemon which he has been interested in).
A lot of people have messaged me about the downsides of this game – people walking in the middle of the road to catch a Pokemon (hullo? Have you read the load page?), people robbing users by bringing them to a certain spot by gathering a ton of Pokemon (this is why Silas and I either find them while I drive and he Poke-catches or while we walk around our neighborhood), Google account security issues (no worries, I used a burner account), so I was careful with setting up our account.
Once I read up on it, I showed him how to use it. We caught Pokemon, went to Poke Stops and I showed him how to gather stuff, and we’ve decided which team we want to join (Blue because that’s his favorite color ALTHOUGH he was tempted to Yellow when I mentioned Pikachu). He is desperate to catch a Pikachu.
So let’s talk about the good and the bad.
- We’re working on “It’s ok that you missed that Pokemon because there will be another one.” Silas at first would get frustrated while I drove and he missed Pokemon because I was going “too fast,” but now he’s OK with it because he knows more will come.
- We walk our neighborhood every night “for a reason” instead of just, “Hey, let’s take a walk.” When I asked him to walk with me, he’d get frustrated and tired of it fast, but now he wants to keep walking to find Pokemon and to hatch that dang egg that needs us to walk 5k to hatch.
- We’re working on sharing and understanding that sometimes other people have skills we don’t. When we’re at home and a Pokemon shows up, I hand him the phone and tell him, “Hey, go catch this guy. You’re good at it.” But when he becomes frustrated after throwing 5 Pokeballs, he’ll ask me for help and we switch back and forth.
- It hasn’t happened yet, but I can imagine him some day wanting to hold my phone all the time (if we keep playing). I don’t mind him holding it while I drive and he Catches, but I will be drawing the line at home (since I work on my phone and use it a lot).
- As you’ve probably read, the dang app is a BATTERY SUCKER. I bought a new car charger today (mine died a while ago but I didn’t need a new one).
- The app settings (as I talked about before) – be sure yours are locked down or you use a burner account as logging in with Google as the app asks you to do gives it access to your account (without actually asking you). There’s ways to change your settings if you’re so inclined – do a search and you’ll find them easily.
- Gas – I did drive around a bit today after dropping the boys at camp in order to scope out Poke Stops. I had some time, they showed up on my map when I dropped off Silas…but now I know where the local ones are and can stop in quick whenever we drive by if I want. ß Total dork statement.
So for all of the Pokemon Go haters out there, yes we play. Yes it’s fun because it’s something I get to do with my son and see his excitement when a Meowith shows up on our lawn.