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Pokémon Go For Parents | Everything You Need To Know

Article Updated Saturday 16th July 2016
Pokémon Go is now available to download in Ireland!

The gaming sensation that is Pokémon Go has swept the nation in the first few days since its release. Showing its head for the first time just last week, the gaming app is now as popular as Twitter in terms of daily active users.

Here’s everything you need to know, plus how to get it for your child (or yourself).

What is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is a mobile gaming app created by Nintendo. It’s a virtual reality game, which has been brought in to reality by encouraging users to go out in to the real world to play the game. It’s totally free to download and available on phones that run Android or iOS. Using the phone’s GPS function, players of the game become Pokémon Trainers. The goal of the game is to capture virtual Pokémon via your smartphone, train them up at ‘Gyms’ to compete against other Pokémon and Trainers, in order to win the Pokémon League.

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pokemon-go screenshots

Why is it so Popular?

Well, for many, it’s a complete throwback to childhood fun. For those who were children when the game originally came out, (mid 20s to early 30s age bracket) Pokémon was an integral part of growing up. Pokémon originally launched in 1995, and 21 years later, the first mobile Pokémon game has attracted the attention not only of those seeking a nostalgia trip, but of much younger fans too.

Why, as a Parent, Should I be Interested?

So far, through social media, we are seeing and hearing so many positive reports of Pokémon Go. Because you need to travel around outside to find new Pokémon and collect supplies, it’s getting kids out of the house, meeting new people and making new friends. It’s already been suggested that the extra outdoor activity, combined with the social interaction and exercise of walking/cycling around could have a positive effect on a child’s mental health.

How Exactly Does It Work?

Using your phone’s GPS, the game tracks your movements, pulls information from maps and uses that information to create a virtual world. The game than chooses designated landmarks as ‘Poke Stops’, where Pokémon Trainers (that’s you) can go to collect items. There are also ‘Gyms’ where you go to train and battle your Pokémon to win badges.

Users will get a notification to say that a Pokémon is nearby, so they can then go and find it, and ‘capture it’ on their phone’s camera.

This short video from The Huffington Post pretty much sums it up:

Is There Anything I Should Watch Out For?

Young children really should be supervised. There have been a few reports of people climbing walls, or fences to try and reach a Pokémon, which obviously can be hazardous.

The game uses quite a bit of data, so check your plan, and make sure you close the game when you are not using it to save data usage. If you can run it on Wifi that’s your best option. And make sure to disable the In-app purchasing option, especially if your child is using the game.

If you’ve downloaded the game for your child, it might be worth having a sit down and a bit of a chat about common sense things. Such as, don’t run on to a road, or trespass on someone’s property. You never know what might happen when the adrenaline of chasing Pikachu kicks in.

pokeball

Sounds Amazing, Where Can I Get It?

Just head over to the Google Play Store on your Android phone, or the App Store on your iPhone and search ‘Pokémon Go’.

In the meantime, check out this hilarious mom parody, ‘Chardonnay Go’. We WISH this was a real app!

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