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Little girl playing on smartphone

Tech Dad: Pokémon Go

As the Pokémon Go phenomenon grows, make sure your kids are safe.

In less than a week, Pokémon Go became the most successful mobile game ever. Before you let your kids track down the nearest Pidgey, make sure they are safe.

Pokémon Go On The Go?

The concept with Pokémon Go is that players have to physically walk around to find PokeStops and catch Pokémon. Many adults have been seen playing the game while driving which is obviously dangerous. In addition to warning kids to watch for distracted drivers, make sure you talk with them about walking, biking and driving distracted. Remind teens to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Set rules, such as: the smartphone stays in the pocket until you have come to a complete stop.

Know What They”re Doing

Play with them, ask questions and pay attention. Handing your child your smartphone and then ignoring what they”re doing can be dangerous. Help them set up the game so you know exactly how much information they”re providing. And according to the game’s terms and conditions, if your children are under 13, you are supposed to register for them using an adult email address.

Stranger Danger

Pokémon Go is great because it encourages kids to get out and walk around, unlike other smartphone games. Problem is, many of the PokeStops are crowded with other kids and adults playing the same game. Your kids need to know the appropriate way to approach or not approach other players who, although they are seemingly just playing the game, are still strangers. More importantly, if your kids are young, you should walk around with them. It seems like common sense, but it’s something to keep in mind because of the game’s ‘social” nature.

The Game Is Free; In-App Purchases Are Not

Make sure your phones are locked down so a password is required for in-app purchases. You can play Pokémon Go for free, but if you want to get a quick advantage, players can buy Pokeballs and other items for as much as $100! That’s the last surprise you want to find on your credit card. Also, remember that playing the game will eat into your phone’s data plan.

Pokémon Go is fun. It gets kids out of the house and exploring their surroundings. Any parent loves that idea. With the right supervision, I believe it can be a safe way for kids to interact like never before.

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