Description: Pokémon Go is an absolutely wild game, blurring the line between real and virtual. Using augmented-reality, the game displays all the favorite Pokémon characters on your screen with background from your camera, giving the impression that they’re standing in front of you.
A small optional wearable device was released alongside the game, called the Pokémon Go Plus (shown below). The device uses a Bluetooth connection to notify users when a Pokémon is nearby with a LED and a light vibration and is sold separately from the app.
APP Store rating: 9+ (infrequent/mild cartoon/fantasy violence
(August 2018 Update) Parental Controls have arrived! In partnership with SuperAwesome, there will be a Niantic Kids dashboard that parents can log into from their child’s device, giving them extra monitoring control over young players.
Activity is required – this might be what I like best. You have to get out and adventure in the real world to engage with characters. I love this! (Crazy story of a Wyoming kid who found a dead body in a river while pursuing a water Pokémon)
Addiction is real – some people just can’t stop playing and will continue playing while doing other things that require their attention (like driving).
Trespassing – too many stories of kids venturing into dangerous places just to catch the elusive Pokémon.
Strangers are there – at some point in the game, players are asked if they want to join a team. This can be with friends or strangers. Because team members may not be real-life friends, kids must understand privacy expectations. **Don’t miss this article about muggings in Missouri of Pokémon Go players.
Pokémon Porn?! – yes, whatever people are searching for, the porn industry will always jump on board with their own distortion. Due to the initial popularity of the app, pornographers jumped on board to make a bunch of inappropriate Pokemon characters, hoping to hook an unsuspecting person. If a child is performing a Google search for Pokémon, a parent should be involved and have safe search enabled.
No unfiltered web access that I can find – if you discover a “hidden doorway” to the Internet through the app, please let me know. If none exists, this is a very good thing! Even the Bible app has a doorway to Twitter and Facebook (and tons of porn) without ever leaving the app.
Young players should be in a group. Everyone should be aware of the risk of sharing location information that could be used to do harm. But, it gets kids out and moving, which I love. With the right parental prep, it looks like a winner. Fun and active!