Is Pokémon Go Healthy For Your Kid?

by Isabel Thottam
The most popular app released this summer was Pokémon Go. Your kids have likely been playing it non-stop the past few months, or begging you to let them to do so. And the good news is, letting your child play Pokémon Go is actually healthy.
Using their smartphones, kids are able to catch augmented reality versions of their favorite Pokémon characters in the virtual reality app. Though you may not understand what exactly it is and what these “pocket monsters” are, you’ve probably noticed your children (and adults) are having a blast playing it.
But, as you watch your kid stare at their smartphone screen for hours on end and not pay attention to where they are walking, you might find yourself wondering, “Is this okay? Should I be letting my child spend this much time on their phone?”
You’re not alone in wondering whether or not such augmented reality apps are healthy for your kids. But Pokémon Go can actually do more good than harm.

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Pokémon Go can improve media literacy skills.

As augmented reality games become more popular we’re going to see games that teach valuable skills that are applicable to the real world. Since our world continues to become more digital, it’s important for our children to learn these basic technology skills to set them up for future success.
For example, Pokémon Go is essentially Google Maps with Pokémon creatures scattered throughout it. By navigating their neighborhood in the app, children learn how to use digital maps to navigate.
Secondly, the game requires Pokémon Trainers to earn points to move to the next level and track the combat power and health of their Pokémon. Thus, it involves math and memory skills, both which can help develop a child’s abilities.

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Catching Pokémon is a fun way to exercise.

Though you should warn you child about walking while staring at their phone, you should be happy that your child wants to go walk around your neighborhood and play Pokémon Go.
Pokémon Go is a healthy way to get your kid to exercise while playing a fun game. Not only does the game require users to walk to do things in the app, but it also encourages children to set goals. For example, users can hatch eggs to receive Pokémon, but in order to hatch the eggs; they have to walk a certain amount of miles.
Previously, you may have had trouble getting your child to put their tablets down and go outside. Now, your kid will likely beg you to let them go out and walk around the neighborhood to play Pokémon Go! Why not grab the dog and head out on the adventure with them?

Pokémon Go can help build communication and cognitive thinking skills.

If you don’t really understand the game, ask your child to explain how it works. This gives them the opportunity to try and teach the game to someone, which can help improve their communications and cognitive thinking skills. By asking them how different aspects of the game works, you’re helping them process how the app operates, which will also increase their understanding of how technology works.
Additionally, you’ll find that many kids in your neighborhood or at school are also playing the game, so it will help your kid talk to more of their peers. It’s been shown that there are mental health benefits to playing Pokémon Go because it helps those who suffer from anxiety or lack social skills talk to new people and make friends.
The game has plans to allow users to trade items and Pokémon in the game, which will also improve their communication and rational thinking skills.

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Children playing the game have increased awareness of culture and diversity.

The other healthy aspect of Pokémon Go is how it forces your child to learn about different buildings, sculptures or pieces of history in your neighborhood or city. “Poké Stops” are usually points of interests in your area, such as a mural, church, cultural center or historical artifact. Your child has to go to the Poké Stop to get items, therefore making them read and learn about the location.
Secondly, since Pokémon themselves are diverse creatures, it will teach your child about diversity. Pokémon come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, and have different strengths and weaknesses, so it can be healthy for your kid to think about how this applies to their every day life.
Overall, Pokémon Go is a healthy game, especially against others offered. Plus, the more you interact with your child while they play it, the more you’ll see just how much they’re learning from it.


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