How POK was formed

Pokémon GO: Parents should inform themselves

21.07.2016

Pokémon GO first spread to Australia and America and is now a global phenomenon. Children and adults are in the hunted fever, with their eyes on their mobile phones they run around to see whether they can catch Pokémon creatures with their smartphones at certain locations and collect other "treasures".

© Antonioguillem - Fotolia.com

Parents should inform themselves about the game in order to recognize the possible risks and to be able to react accordingly. Various institutions, such as NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Great Britain) and "! LOOK AT what your child does with the media" warn of the dangers that the game harbors, such as inattentiveness when walking and in traffic. Criminals have also already made use of the app.

Understand the game

Parents should familiarize themselves with the game to understand what their children are doing. The name of the game was formed from the combination of the abbreviations of the words "Pocket Monster". The “pocket monsters” only exist within the game, but you have to track them down outside in the real world. If there is a monster nearby, the app will warn players.

The monsters can be caught by throwing Poké Balls at them. The player's captured creatures are logged in the Pokédex. Once a player has reached a sufficiently high level in the game, they can visit nearby Pokémon Gyms, where their monsters can train to compete. These arena battles are an important part of the game. There, gamers have to assert themselves in battles against other monsters. In addition, there are PokéStops, i.e. places where children can collect other useful elements for the game, such as the Poké balls and later eggs from which monsters then hatch. Every app user has an egg incubator right from the start. In rare cases, additional “incubators” can be found at PokéStops.

Before children play with the app on their own, parents should, if possible, play themselves to get an idea, is the advice of the NSPCC.

Register yourself

Parents should install and register themselves (mandatory for children under 13) - ideally by registering again - and find out about data protection regulations and age ratings beforehand. SCHAU HIN advises to choose something for the user name that does not indicate anything personal. Because: The app stores the data on the location of the player for the game. This can be seen with the user name of fellow players.

The NRW game advisor is of the opinion that Pokémon GO is only suitable for teenagers aged 12 and over due to various risks. Younger players should be accompanied by an adult.

Prevent tempting offers

The game is free to download and play - but in-app offers entice players to purchase items that make it easier for them to reach a higher game level. Parents should check their child's phone settings and store account to avoid these additional costs.

Set limits

While a child can find some Pokémon near home, they have to go some distance to find more. Parents should clarify with their children which areas are taboo, such as areas with high traffic or private areas, and which radius is allowed.
As with other media, children and young people should not be allowed to play indefinitely.

Save battery

Pokémon GO uses a lot of battery. Pokémon GO is the first smartphone game to use "augmented reality": It places the characters in images of the player's immediate surroundings by accessing the GPS data and the camera of the mobile phone. That costs energy. In order to consume less power, all other apps in the background should be deactivated and battery-saving mode selected. A power bank as a reserve guarantees that children can use their cell phones and are reachable in an emergency.

Also think of malice

According to the NSPCC, there are numerous reports of children who got into dangerous situations because criminals misused the location data of the adolescents for themselves - for example in a case in which armed robbers used special "lure modules" to guide young people to a specific location.
Theft is another risk, as cell phones can easily be snatched from the hands of Pokémon fans who forget their surroundings while playing. Inattentive gamers hardly register when something valuable is stolen from their backpacks or bags.

Sources: MedScape, NSPCC; LOOK, computer picture

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