-A commentary on the game and the various reactions about Pokemon Go. I welcome Barbara Sakai as a guest parenting blogger.
I keep seeing nasty posts about the stupidity of Pokemon Go! and the people who play.
It makes me so sad when people post things like this.
Look, you don't have to like that people are playing a game like this, but really, I don't get the national shaming fest involved in it right now. There's nothing inherently stupid about the game itself, despite the very few people who've met with sad fates while playing, or the very few nefarious individuals who take advantage of the players. And please keep in mind it was created with young adults and older teens in mind as the ones the creators were aiming to involve, not young kids.
There are positive things about it--a lot of them actually. On a national basis the game has gotten a lot of kids out of their houses who would normally have to be blasted out. I understand it has been particularly great for kids on the autistic spectrum, shy kids, and kids with social anxiety disorders by giving them something in common to share during social interactions to grease the wheels. I understand hundreds of stray and abandoned animals are being discovered and rescued by Pokemon go! players as they hunt for Pokemon, and some shelters have gotten some Go players offering to volunteer for them as a result of playing. I have even read that it’s been a boon to some small businesses, sparking an increase in traffic that has increased sales. I'm sure there are other great things happening as a result of the game, as well--we only hear about the bad stuff on television because its considered to be better at creating ratings, and is therefore better "news."
On a personal basis, for me and for family Pokemon Go turned what had potential to be a long, lonely summer into something completely different for my two kids (who are 14 and 19.) My daughter's friends, having scattered to the four winds as they left for college, are now back for the summer, but working, so finding times to get together that work for both is hard. My son just got over some tough times which somewhat isolated him from some of his friends--working your way back in is a dicey business for anyone. With this game they are both reigniting old friendships, making new ones, and are now getting invited to participate in activities outside of the game as a result. Additionally they are getting out into the fresh air on their own, being active and getting exercise. They are also learning things about the area in which we've lived their entire lives that they never knew - "Mom, did you know there was a nature reserve and walk at (this location) within walking distance of our house?"
I admit I worry that all this negativity being rained down upon the players will ruin the first nice, positive, non-destructive game that involves no violence and encourages people to get together and get outside to come down the pike for this age group in a long time. So what that it involves technology? It’s the world we live in. I'm betting that back during the industrial revolution there was a lot of the same sort of griping about technological advances too. I'm betting when electronic music players like gramophones etc. were first invented there were plenty of old fogies willing to bash young people for not waiting to hear a live band play to go dancing or enjoy music.
Let's not ruin a great thing because we can't stop being cynical old fogies. Don't like it? Don't play. But leave the folks who do play to enjoy themselves without people bashing them every step they take.
Barbara is the mother of two children, a high schooler, aged 14, and a college student, aged 19, as well as three cats.