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  • Jul28Thu

    What's All the Craze?

    July 28, 2016
    Filed Under:
    Abuse Awareness

    Pokémon Go is an augmented reality gaming application for use on smartphones. The game, made by Nintendo, is based on its predecessor that came out in 1996—allowing the previous generation of Pokémon trainers to indulge in a sweeping rush of nostalgia.  It is sweeping the world and has exceeded Twitter users.

    Pokémon are fictional creatures of all shapes and sizes who live in the wild, and the goal is to catch as many as you can. But Pokémon Go isn’t a direct copy of the first generation game—there’s a twist. In the original Pokémon video game, you caught all your Pokémon in a virtual world. But, in Pokémon Go, players have to venture out into the real world.

    To catch your Pokémon, players have to actually go out and wander around town. The game has an integrated GPS mapping system to find Pokémon—which is why you’re seeing droves of smartphone users wandering around with devices held in front of their faces.

    Is it good or bad?
    What’s good?  Considering most Churches, Libraries, and Schools are Pokémon Gyms, which are ideal locations to discover rare Pokémon, it will encourage more traffic to these locations.  It is also good to get game players off the sofa, creating a positive impact on mental health and encouraging exercise. It has created a buzz and excitement around the office. 

    What’s bad? Individuals of all ages are quickly becoming addicted to this game.  Children and young people who never would have talked to a stranger in the past, are finding common ground with adults also playing the game.  If played within an activity or program, the staff and volunteers could easily become distracted from the responsibility of oversight and care.  Also, a social experiment was recently conducted with alarming results – young people literally leaving with or getting into the car of a stranger. CLICK HERE
      
    Can it be used safely? Yes! 

    10 Pokémon Go safety guidelines:

    • Follow Pokémon Go’s age restrictions.
    • Traffic (car, bikes, and foot traffic) will increase around your building. Monitor this traffic and be observant of the individuals that are there. In most cases, they will not stay long, but if you see someone loitering and engaging with children and youth, speak with them, encourage them to move on or, call the police. 
    • Provide safety tips to parents and educate children and young people on safety with Pokémon Go.  CLICK HERE
    • If you host a Pokémon Go party, make sure you screen and train your staff and volunteers
    • If you are hosting a scavenger hunt or event, travel as a group, and provide safety tips prior to leaving.
    • Communicate risks with parents, including risks of travelling by foot, accidents, injuries, etc.
    • Avoid texting and messaging minors – include other leaders on your communication. 
    • Avoid interaction with children and youth alone that are using Pokémon Go unless you have another screened adult with you.
    • Leaders who are responsible for supervising and care of minors should not be distracted by playing Pokémon Go during child and youth events.
    • Avoid secluded locations as they may being used to lure individuals. 

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