Pokémon GO has launched kids from the sofa and back into the great outdoors. This interactive app played via smartphone has done the impossible in many parents’ eyes. And igniting outside excitement plays an important role in a child’s life.
Pokémon GO is fun, exciting, and can be used as a parenting tool for teaching safety. However, the actual act of kids having fun outside, away from gaming consoles and your watchful eye, may raise safety concerns.

Your kids may be exploring the world a bit differently using an app with more daily users than Twitter and Facebook. The interactive app could possibly put kids in dangerous situations, so talking safety is paramount to playing Pokémon GO.

1. Understand the Pokémon Go Craze You Are Up Against

Although 52 percent of Pokémon GO players are between the ages of 18 and 34, according to Slice Intelligence, kids are still playing the game. This makes understanding the app an essential part of keeping your kids safe when playing.

One way to teach your kids how to play Pokémon GO safely is to download and play the game yourself. You simply can’t teach what you don’t know anything about. Who knows, the age demographic of the game suggests you just might enjoy it.

2. Create a Safe Pokémon GO Experience

Setting boundaries for your kids is most certainly a big part of being a parent. The same goes for playing Pokémon GO. Create a safe experience by building your own Pokémon hunting map near your home.

Identify landmarks or streets kids can’t go beyond while playing the game. This will allow them to stay close to home. And it will let you keep an eye on them if you feel the urge to check in on their Pokémon progress.

3. Revisit “Stranger Danger” and How to Avoid Dangerous Situations

Parents have a unique opportunity to use the latest Pokémon GO craze to revisit some old safety lessons. In fact, Callahan Walsh from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children told “Good Morning America” the app could be an excellent parenting tool.

Using this interactive app to touch on broader safety lessons is a fantastic parenting strategy. Some news reports have covered nefarious characters using the app to lure kids closer. Covering topics like talking to strangers and avoiding dangerous situations is vital.

4. Emphasize the Importance of Staying in Reality

The Pokémon GO app combines the virtual world of gaming with reality. This is one of the great draws of the game getting kids back in parks. This feature, however, also brings about some safety issues.

There have been reports of people running into trees and buildings, and not paying attention to traffic. These otherwise-adhered-to obstacles may melt away as attention is pulled toward finding the Pokémon character.

Explain to your kids the importance of being aware of their surroundings while enjoying Pokémon GO. Taking short breaks and looking up and around every so often may keep them from walking into danger.

5. Pokémon GO Offers a Wonderful Opportunity to Connect With Your Kids

If you did your Pokémon GO homework and downloaded the app to check it out, why not take it a bit further. The revolutionary app may give you a chance to connect with your kids in a meaningful way.

Join them in a few Pokémon hunts and enjoy the app together as a family. There is nothing wrong with a shared interest to spark conversation. The unique moment to share a day outside with your kids is indeed rare and invaluable as well.

Teaching your kids how to play Pokémon GO safely doesn’t need to be a chore or a challenge. It can be used as a parenting tool and a chance to revisit golden safety lessons. Think of it as a way to connect with your kids in a unique way while sharing a mutual interest safely. It surely beats watching them sit on the sofa playing video games for hours on end.

Article by Amy Kristine Williams – mother of two, social worker, and positive parenting advocate.