There’s a game (a phone app) that apparently launched over the summer, which is called Pokémon Go. Most people have heard about it by now. I remember when my kids were younger, they collected Pokémon cards, but then lost interest in them. Now they’re using their cell phones to collect virtual Pokémon. It’s a craze that seems to be attracting adults as well as children!

I’ve only played a few times; I took over my son’s phone a few of the times I took him driving, since he obviously couldn’t play. If one of his sisters is in the car, we have her do it instead.

My youngest went for a walk with a friend recently, and came home with some origami Pikachu creations she found. She said someone has figured out how to make them, and has been leaving them around town.

There is debate about whether or not playing Pokémon Go is a good idea. People who approve of it mention how the players are getting out and getting more exercise. People who are against it mention the times in the news you hear about bad things happening. I’ve heard about people falling off cliffs and getting mugged. I have mixed feelings about it. It does encourage my kids to walk around more, but it’s one more distraction that makes them want to stare at their phone screens. It also is a way for me to get them to ride along for errands, since they might see something unusual they can try to catch. They played when we went to Ocean City, when we traveled across Pennsylvania, and when we traveled to New Jersey.

Recently, we were looking for a parking spot at Gentile’s Market, and my kids saw a Dragonite on their screens, but it was a little out of reach. I had my son put the car in park so they could run after it, and I yelled after them to meet me in the store when they were done.

No matter how you feel about it, it seems the people who play are very much addicted to it. My kids love that we live next to a Pokéstop, since they can collect things from there as frequently as every five minutes without even leaving the house. Some of the items they can get are Pokéballs, razz berries, potions, revives, and eggs. The Pokéballs are used to catch Pokémon. The razz berries increase the chances of catching the Pokémon. Potions heal your Pokémon when you battle with them. Revives bring them back from zero health. Eggs get incubated, and after you walk a certain distance, they’ll hatch into different Pokémon. You don’t know what you’ll get until they hatch, though.

Whether you like to play Pokémon Go or not, the question that you should ask is not if you are team Valor, team Mystic, or team Instinct, but rather if you are in a safe location to play; if you are following their terms of use and not playing while driving etc. I think it could be a fun idea for children to play with parental supervision. That way it is appropriate and safe to play for everyone.

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