kids and technology

Pokémon Go: Safety of children in the cyber realm and real world

11:08 PM

One of the great things about this game is that is popular amongst both children and adults, so our main suggestion is to play with them. This can be a great opportunity for you to engage and play along with your children!

Since there are many factors that come into play when using this app, we are going to delve into these aspects in a three part series examining the risks in the cyber realm, the real world and the safety of children while playing the game.

First things first, with all apps your children are interested in, download the app and play it yourself to become familiar with what your children will be doing. This way, you can become more informed about the gameplay, and you can talk to your child about how to be safe while using it.

Stranger Danger:

While the purpose of the game is to be social, real-life rules still apply. Tell your kids about stranger-danger. A huge part of the gameplay involves common areas called gyms and Pokéstops, which will attract a good amount of strangers playing the game. You can still encourage your children to interact with new people, but set some guidelines. Always make sure they are supervised by a trusted adult when venturing into these public areas. If you can’t go with them, or you have an older teen, be sure to have them establish a buddy system and check in with you regularly, as it’s just not safe for anyone of any age to aimlessly wander around unfamiliar areas of town by themselves.

Be Aware of “Lures”

Lures are an item that can be both bought in the game and earned by leveling up to higher levels. The purpose of a Lure is to attract more Pokémon at a Pokéstop.

When a user sets up a Lure at a Pokéstop, other players in the area can see them on the map, alerting them that the location has a surplus of Pokémon. What’s potentially dangerous about these is that anyone can set these up, which could potentially make the game attractive to child predators.

Establish Boundaries
Since this game can send children wandering off to areas unknown, it’s best that they are supervised by a responsible adult, or if old enough, they use the buddy system to play in groups.

If they do wander about their neighborhood in search for these elusive creatures, set limits on where your kids can go without you.

Limit those areas by setting boundaries in your neighborhood where your kids would normally play. If they want to leave those boundaries, be sure to insist that they call you to discuss their plans, such as where they are going, for how long, who they are going with and to check back in when they are done.

Location Tracking

If your kids are going to be out on their own, use a location tracking app in case of emergencies. Norton Family Parental Control has apps for both iOS and Android that will track your child’s smartphone in real time with their GPS coordinates on a map.

In App Purchases

This game, like other games does have in app purchases to buy things like Pokécoins and other various powerups. In this case, it’s probably a good idea to put on parental controls that help control in-app spending.

For iOS, Apple has a feature called “Ask to Buy,” that will alert you to whenever a family member initiates a new purchase or free download. You are then able to control what they purchase from your own device.

The Google Play Store has an option to turn on authentication when making in-app purchases. This means that means certain information, like a password, must be entered on your device to make a purchase.

You may want to look into these in order to avoid becoming the next headline “My Child Spent 5,000 Dollars on Pokémon Go.”

So now that you are armed with the information you need to ensure your children have safe and enjoyable gameplay, it’s time for you to venture out with your kids and help the “catch ‘em all!”

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  1. The world has been turned into a Pokemon menagerie, but the game is not without problems. The real fun comes from going outside to explore.

  2. There are positives and negatives to this game but the big take away that I received is that it is getting kids - people - OUTSIDE! It is a game that gets people off of the couch and moving!

  3. I can not believe how many people are playing this game. Our teenager is really hooked on it. She is 17 so she is already well educated on safety.

  4. Great tips for protecting your children, while still allowing them to have fun. Though it isn't the game manufacturers responsibility to be the parent, I do wish they would do a little more to protect/warn people about safety issues.

  5. Safety is my main concern about the game as well. I think it's important for parents to establish rules and if they're not comfortable with their kids going out and going to places, they should definitely allot time time accompany their kids.

  6. I have not played this yet, but I see so many people enjoying it and getting out more. It might be worth a try. Thank you

  7. This is really helpful. I guess it's a good idea to talk with the kids about these things and make sure they have a safety plan.

  8. You provided some good tips. It's important for parents to know what their kids are doing and where they are. It's ok to play the game, but people need to help their kids to be aware of their surroundings and the potential for dangerous situations.

  9. All are great tips. I especially like that kids can play this with parents.

  10. We recently went to a children's birthday party. My 8 year old took out his Pokemon Go and every man in the house came over to him to compare notes. I can see how it's awesome, and I can see how it makes you take precautions too.

  11. I appreciate this one even though I haven't really played the game at all. I'm just worried about all the things that can be abused with this game's search system. I don't condone the idea though, but it's better that we share tips and info here.

  12. this game is driving everybody crazzzyy .. but thanx for this post its amazing with great tips fro childrens safty

  13. Very well said While its a Pokemon Go is a Cyber game our children play in the real world and they would need to learn about stranger danger!

  14. i love pokemon, i grew up watching it and still memorise the song. but i can never download the app, not playing pokemon go in super hot dubai

  15. This is all great conversation to have around Pokemon GO. It has become widely popular super fast and children are not aware of the dangers that surround apps like this.

  16. Nice tips, this app is very popular today and people of all ages are playing. Safety first!

  17. My daughter and I are obsessed with this game! It's sad that we do have to worry about the wired is in the world trying to ruin our fun!


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