Good Monday morning to all!  Below, please find a guest post, written by Amy Williams, a journalist based in Southern California.  As a mother of two, Amy hopes to use her experiences as a parent to help other parents raise their children to be the best they can be.

pokemon go

As parents, we are faced with decisions on a daily basis. Many of these dilemmas are minimal in the grand scheme of life, because we ultimately understand that in ten years from now it won’t matter if we served green beans or asparagus for dinner. In the same breath, however, we are frequently faced with choices that ultimately affect our sons’ and daughters’ safety and well-being.


Some of these questions are obvious topics we need to consider. Whether we are debating rear facing car seats or vaccinations, many of us sit down and weigh the pros and cons of each choice. We don’t take lightly our children’s well-being. After all, the decisions we make today can affect our kids for years to come. Recently, millions of parents came face to face with a dilemma that can directly influence our kids’ safety.


This epic question: should we let our children play Pokémon GO?


Pokémon GO and Our Children: Safety First


At first glance, we simply notice Pokémon GO is a free app that is getting our children outside and exercising. However, upon closer inspection, parents, experts, and authorities are starting to see a trend of hazards popping up around Pokémon GO players. Lately, there have been numerous incidents where drivers are distracted by trying to “catch em all” leading to accidents. And pedestrians are also at risk, because the distractability of the game has caused countless trips and falls resulting in trips to the emergency room. If those aren’t cause enough for concern, police are worried criminals and pedophiles are locating potential targets by using this app.


After reading about the serious pitfalls facing players of Pokémon GO, we need to examine the benefits this app offers the 21 million plus users who have already downloaded it onto their devices. In a remarkable twist, this video game is improving our children’s health and social skills. As they navigate our neighborhoods in search of elusive pocket monsters and gear, they are walking away calories and meeting people. This social aspect of the app is unifying players as they develop a sense of camaraderie. Stories are surfacing about the unique ways the game is helping people’s mental health, especially those who suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and autism at the macular level.


Eight Strategies For Playing Pokémon GO Safely

As our kids unplug their Xboxes and PlayStations in favor of Pokémon GO, they may encounter frightening scenarios they don’t have the necessary skills to handle these situations. Making it essential we empower our children with the know-how to safely play Pokémon GO and reap the multiple benefits this game offers. If you decide your child can handle this trending app, consider following these tips for kids to safely play Pokémon GO:


Only play with friends or family members. Stress the importance of the buddy system and never play alone.


Always be polite. Avoid confrontations and dangerous situations by following rules, being nice, and respecting others.


Avoid the dark. Dress children in bright colors and outerwear to help them be seen easily by drivers. Also, consider setting curfews before the sun sets to reduce the dangers associated with walking at dusk.


Map out defined areas a child can or cannot go to help keep children in safer locales near home.


Have children check in and keep us informed regarding their whereabouts. For parents of teens, this is critical, because it makes locating them easier if a situation would arise. To help make this connectivity a reality, consider arming them with an emergency charger in case their device’s battery would die.


Carry devices in a pocket so they can feel the device vibrate when a Pokémon is nearby. This will allow our sons and daughters to pay attention to their whereabouts and movements without hyperfocusing on their devices.


Avoid secluded areas. Only play in public, well lit areas and make sure someone knows a teen’s whereabouts.


And finally, NEVER operate a moving vehicle while playing Pokémon GO. Encourage children to walk or park cars in a safe location before turning on the game.


Will you allow your son or daughter to get in the action and play Pokémon GO? Why or why not?