Released on July 6, 2016, Pokémon GO has recently captured the attention of kids, young adults, and parents alike. For those not in the know, what’s it all about? How can the game be a positive presence in your family? And how can Qustodio help keep kids safe while they play? Read on to learn more.
What is Pokémon GO?
Pokémon GO is a free, augmented reality app with a Pokémon theme. Built on the Ingress app platform, gameplay is based on players’ location and encourages people to move about in the real world to capture Pokémon and compete with others. If you are familiar with the Nintendo DS Pokémon games, Pokémon GO is similar to being a Pokémon Trainer inside the game, except players are out there in the real world. If you aren’t familiar with Pokémon, here is a brief rundown.
Using an iOS or Android device, Pokémon GO uses GPS and Wi-Fi or cellular signal to place a player’s avatar on a real-life map. As they move, the avatar moves with them along the map on the screen. As they walk or run, players will pass PokéStops, where they can collect items such as Pokéballs, potions, revives, eggs, and more. These are generally located at notable places of interest, such as parks, civic centers, churches, art installments, etc., and more information can be had by tapping on the PokéStop name. Pokémon of various types also pop up along the way, and players can attempt to catch them inside one of their Pokéballs. Players can also hatch eggs as they walk, as the egg incubators are dependent upon walking or running to hatch the eggs. All of these actions earn players experience points (or XP), which allow players to level up to the next level.
Once players reach Level 5, they can join a team. The three teams (yellow, red, and blue, also called Instinct, Valor, and Mystic, respectively) are essentially the same, but they battle each other for control of the local Gyms. Players can challenge the Pokémon that hold certain Gyms, and they can also place their own Pokémon in a Gym to defend it for their team. Each player can only place one Pokémon in a particular Gym, so players need to work together to maintain control.
The higher the player level, the more powerful Pokémon that player can find. Players can power up their Pokémon to give them more fighting strength or evolve them into higher forms. Some players may just prefer to collect Pokémon, filling up their Pokédex, a type of journal that displays all of the Pokémon that player has caught.
How Can Pokémon GO Improve Your Relationship with Your Kids?
While there are currently no social aspects inside the game, Pokémon GO is inherently a social game, getting people out into the world, walking around their communities. Players will run into each other, compare notes, and often join the same teams. Families can take advantage of this by playing the game as a family. There are many positive aspects to playing Pokémon GO with your kids.
- It’s a fun, family activity that everyone can be involved with. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to find an activity that all members in a family will enjoy. This has aspects for all ages and abilities.
- Families can exercise together. Combining physical exercise with an interactive video game inspires sedentary kids and adults to get moving in order to further their position in the game. Kids who claim to not want to exercise will be running from one PokéStop to another, and chasing rustling grass to find rare Pokémon.
- It improves family communication. Playing Pokémon GO as a family provides subject matter for extensive conversations and plenty of regular communication. Everyone is having a similar and joint experience, and everyone can get excited about it together. You may get to know your kids in a whole new way. Don’t be surprised if the kids are the ones who become the experts, with parents having to learn from them! You can also celebrate victories together, and commiserate on the loss of a rare Pokémon.
- It promotes teamwork. Joining the same team means that all family members fight for the same cause. Work together to take over the nearest Gym!
- Safety is paramount. As families play together, there will be ample opportunity for conversations about safety. There will be openings for discussing topics such as watching where you’re walking, how to interact with strangers, and what to do if you get lost.
- Sometimes you need a break. Parenting can be overwhelming, and Pokémon GO provides an activity for your kids to do around your house and immediate neighborhood, giving parents a needed break.
- Kids are actively involved and included. Kids will be more involved with family life and the running of the household because they will want to go on errands to catch Pokémon and hit PokéStops along the way. Plus, a lot of locations, such as grocery stores and libraries, now have Wi-Fi, making gameplay more accessible.
- It’s important to be silly together. When you’re trying to catch a Pokémon in the wild, if you have the camera feature inside the app turned on, players can photograph the Pokémon they are trying to catch within the augmented reality around it. You can have family members pose with the Pokémon for a group shot, or create silly posed photos for much hilarity later.
All of the above leads to better relationships between parents and children, and gives everyone shared memories and experiences.
How Qustodio Can Help with Pokémon GO
Families are likely to occasionally play Pokémon GO without each other. This is where Qustodio can help. Qustodio has several features that allow parents to monitor and limit their kids’ online activities, which will especially keep kids safe with Pokémon GO.
Location monitoring allows parents to know their kids are safe and in previously-approved locations. If kids go off catching Pokémon without you, you can follow along with Qustodio. Kids can also use the Qustodio Panic Button if they end up in a difficult situation.
If parents find that their kids spend too much time with Pokémon GO, distracting them from their homework or other activity, Qustodio allows parents to limit the amount of time that can be spent playing. Parents can also see how much their kids are using the app.
Additionally, parents can use Qustodio to set schedule limits, such as preventing kids from playing Pokémon GO while in school, camp, or an after-school activity. Parents can also manually turn access to the app on or off, if parents don’t want their kids playing without them, for safety or other reasons.
There currently aren’t any in-app social aspects (though there may be additional features in future updates), so there are no worries about inappropriate social networking. And, though the game is free, there are in-app purchases which provide in-game currency.
Qustodio is the perfect partner for Pokémon GO. Qustodio helps families make the most of the game playing experience without sacrificing safety, and parents can continue to monitor their kids’ location and keep an eye on and limit online activity.