Children pictured at the playground catching Pokémon.
You might have noticed the sudden craze when Pokémon Go was launched across South East Asia, especially Malaysia. Your social media feeds would have exploded with news, status updates and pictures of Pokémon everywhere. And if you're a parent, you may have noticed your children constantly asking for permission to download the game, play it, or even just plain disappear from the house for prolonged hours. As a parent, you’re likely to be in one of the three groups right now:
GO - You’ve caught the bug (pardon the pun) and you're onboard the hype train.
NO - You’re absolutely against the craze and think children should stay away from it.
SO – You’re not interested and couldn’t be bothered.
Here are a few parenting tips for each group.
“GO and #gottacatchemall”
Turn the game into an excuse to spend more time with your children. Hunt Pokémon with them!
Parent Tip #1 GO have fun with your children and friends, but don’t get sucked up in the process. Remember, it’s a game with no end in mind, and rushing it won’t make the process any more enjoyable, especially if it comes at a cost. Keep your priorities well and centered, doing important things first, and in the spare time, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy the game.
Parent Tip #2 Turn it into a family activity! Get out together, catch some Pokémon as a team and enjoy the mild exercise. You’ll find great benefit as this can help you improve your relationships and physical health. The goal of this is not Pokémon, but Family Time – sometimes we run out of ideas, so what better way than to leverage the hype and take command of things at home at the same time?
Parent Tip #3 Use the game as a platform for conversations. This is especially great if you are struggling with your child because it can become a common ground for you both to meet and share a few laughs and kind words. The game can be a powerful tool for connecting and building rapport with each other, and from there build towards a healthier parent-child relationship.
“NO! This game is a waste of time, absolutely ridiculous! My child will not play it at all and neither will I have anything to do with it!”
Pokéstops with an active lure (petals) lures more pokémon inside the game, but in reality it also lures players to an actual vicinity or location.*
Parent Tip #4 NO! ringing through your mind? Try not to be too quick to turn the game into your enemy – especially if you’re having trouble at home with a rocky parent-child relationship. Use it to your advantage instead. Leverage some ground by creating healthy boundaries and conditions to create a win-win situation for yourself and your child. This could mean having diplomatic conversations that will allow you to empower your child to make a family decision together, and hopefully through this process, create more trust.
Parent Tip #5 The game can be addictive and even a high-risk danger because of its geolocation* nature and requiring one to be constantly engaged with the game and not pay attention to their surrounding. Yet, what better way to understand the game than to play it? Have a go, experience it for yourself and then come to terms with it. If you’re not convinced to turn it into an ally to further develop your parent-child relationship, at least you’ve given it a go and have a concrete no.
“SO what? It’s just another game.”
Try the game to get a feel of what your children love about it.
Parent Tip #6 SO it may be worthwhile to get to know the game because it’s a peek into your children's world that is evolving at a lightning pace. Missing out on this may mean missing out on opportunities to engage and build memories with your children.
Parent Tip #7 As parents, everything (and everyone) demands our time and energy. However, at the end of the day, our children will not look back and thank us for the material riches we will be leaving behind for them. They’ll look back and wished that we/they had spent more time with them/us. If you’re not interested in things that happen in their world, you run the risk of sending the message that you don't care.
Pokémon GO, NO! or SO? We believe it’s a tool that we can all use to our advantage. Not only will this give us insight into our children’s world, it can potentially help us improve relationships and even get us a little physically healthier from all the walking. The important thing is to experience it firsthand and to use it in an intentional manner for the betterment of our families.
After all, what we build with the tools we use depends entirely on us and remember, rules without relationships lead to rebellion.