Why Every Parent (and Educator) Should Play Pokemon Go

IMG_2086Over the past two weeks, Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm.  Over 25 million people have downloaded the app and are out in our neighborhoods.  Players are EVERYWHERE hunting for Pokemon, setting lures to draw them in, battling for gyms and recuperating needed supplies at PokeStops. By now even if you aren’t playing, you know the rest of us when you see us… we are walking around everywhere looking up and down at our phones and stopping once in awhile to flick our fingers across our screens.  We congregate  in certain areas because we have heard they are hot spots for catching rare Pokemon, and you see our fists pump accompanied by our enthusiastic “YES!” when we catch something new.

I admit it… I am a highly educated 45 year old woman, and I am a Pokemon Go addict, and glad I am.  I know I’m not alone… I’ve mingled with some of my peers recently who also make those sideways glances at their phones to see if a Pokemon has crossed their path! This weekend at my son’s lacrosse tournament, I actually chose where to sit and watch the games because it was situated right in between two PokeStops! I went from level 14 to level 16 over the course of the weekend!

My husband Dave and I downloaded the app on the second day of its release, and I haven’t looked back (unless of course, I need to look back to capture a Pikachu). So now that I have been playing for two weeks and have reached Level 17, here are the three things I’m loving most about playing Pokemon Go (and I think you will too)

Learning together:  Both my children (I have a 12 year old daughter and a fifteen year old son) and ALL of their friends are playing, and I can guarantee you all of your students are playing too.  What has been so awesome as a parent, is that my children and I have been learning the language and the rules of the game together.  I have constantly been engaged in conversation after conversation with my kids and their friends about the game.  They are teaching me stuff, and I am teaching them.  We are comparing our Pokemon, teaching each other new tricks and strategies and collectively we are getting better. From them I have learned things like how to delete items to get more storage space, the “pidgey  hack”, and the best times to use my lucky eggs… they have made me better!  Putting myself in the role of a learner with my kids is a wonderful place to be.

Connecting and Collaborating:  What an awesome opportunity this has been to connect and collaborate with my own children and their friends.  While it is often the case that when I drive a group of teens around town, I’m simply background noise if I talk to them.  Now I’m an engaged partner in the conversations.  They want to know which Pokemon I have caught and what their CP levels are… they want to show me their phones and celebrate their latest catch. We share genuine excitement when we come across a rare Pokemon, take over a gym, or hatch an egg, and we commiserate with each other when our screens freeze or the game won’t load.  We have also had serious discussions about how we think the game could improve.  (Niantic… If you are reading this, we unanimously agree that their need to be additional ways to earn stardust, and we also strongly believe that when you transfer higher CP Pokemon or evolved Pokemon, you should get more candy!)  What a treat these types of conversations are for those of us who parent (or educate) kids at this age.

Getting outside and exploring our neighborhood:  Because we are all on a quest for Pokemon, my children have been willing to go anywhere with me.  In the past two weeks we have been to Balboa Park, the Coronado ferry landing, the Oceanside pier, Chicano Park and many other places we wouldn’t have been this summer, some of which we have never even been to before.  I even think I will be able to convince my kids to go to the zoo with me next week. We have walked and hiked and sometimes just sat together for thirty minutes chatting while we drop a lure and wait to see what comes our way.   The game is getting us outside allowing us to explore new places and revisit old stomping grounds.  We have shared memories of times we have been there before, and we are creating new ones now.  The game is causing us to ask each other, where do we want to go next?

I have heard many adults over the past few weeks complain about the game and the “damage” it is doing to our kids and our society, and I wholeheartedly disagree.  It has been a wonderful opportunity for me to be a part of something that matters to my kids, and we are having a blast playing together.  If you are a parent or a teacher and haven’t given it a shot, try it out… I think you’ll be glad you did!

Happy hunting!





7 thoughts on “Why Every Parent (and Educator) Should Play Pokemon Go

  1. Thank you for this post. I agree! From Old Town to an historic cemetary, we’ve been to so many places and my son has dragged me out on many more walks (Pokemon Go is much cheaper than a personal trainer and quite effective). We’ve also met other players in our community: a 70 year old who bikes around town and is on level 20(!), volunteer gardeners at aforementioned cemetary that were absolutely glowing to have so many new visitors, cafe owners thrilled at the uptick in revenue and welcoming “Goers” by playing Pokemon on a big screen in the corner… It’s been a very positive experience all around.

    Ok, I’ve got to ask… What’s the pudgy hack? My kids and I have learned the Eeveelution hack but not that one! Do tell. 😉

    • Thanks for your comments Karisa!! The Pidgey hack (or at least Pidgey tip) is a trick to help you gain XP and move to the next level faster. Basically you catch all the Pidgeys you can and once you have 96 pidgey candies or so use a lucky egg and evolve 8 pidgeys all at once. You get way more XP points when you use the lucky egg. I also saved the evolution of several other Pokemon for the 30 minutes I used my lucky egg and dropped a lure so I could catch as many Pokemon as possible. I gained a TON of XP and it helped me move up a level really quickly. Happy hunting!!

  2. Spent two hours hanging out at the park with my 20 & 21 yo kids playing this tonight. So much fun and loved seeing the community out there too!!

  3. Amen, from another 45 year old mom. As long as you’re out there, I’ll know I’m not alone! 🙂

  4. We went to Gettysburg a few days after Pokemanina began. At first I was a bit bugged b/c my husband and son were playing on their phones (actually my son was playing on MY phone) when there was so much history around us. Then my son started reading about the monuments, statues and landmarks (all Poke stops) from inside the game. He learned way more about Gettysburg that day than if we’d just walked around and read the brochure.

    PS, Gettysburg has a gagillion Pokestops.

  5. It also has gotten my (older) autistic son out and talking a common language with other people. He is also helping me develop a “Citizenship Go” for my classroom. (“You have caught a wild Rosa Parks! 10 Justice Points!”

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