You’d have to be living under a doughnut hole if you don’t already know that the latest mobile game craze is Pokemon Go. I had heard about the new app in the news, from friends and then finally from my 8 year old son who asked me last night if he could buy the game on his iPad. I immediately said “NO.” I was scared and worried because I had heard in the news that bad people were luring players into dark alleys and stealing their purses. Was this true? I decided to get informed and ask Tech and Marketing expert of dittopr.co, Trey Ditto, “What the frig IS this game and is it safe for my kids?”
“Pokemon is back and back with a vengeance.” Ditto says. “The mobile game is actually set to surpass Twitter and Tinder in daily active users!”
Ok so it’s BIG, people are loving it. But we all want to know is what is it? Ditto explains that it’s a mobile app that incentivizes people to capture pokemons on their phone by way of GPS. Through a map, people can find pokemons to capture in the most obvious (your home or office) and random (a bathroom) places.
And in case you are wondering if there is any kind of reward for capturing these little Japanese figures? No there isn’t. Just some weird bragging rights.
Ditto explains how this is one of the first examples of how augmented reality can be used in gaming and mobilization. “And when I say mobilization, I don’t mean moblle phones. I mean getting people moving around.”
My friend Matt and fellow Pokemon GO user told me yesterday that he’s never walked so far in his life! “I’ve probably walked over five miles trying to find Pokies all over my town.”
Sounds like a good time but as parents we need to ask ourselves, Is this safe for our kids?
Ditto says, “First, it’s sending people to random places and people can somewhat control where others go. You can make purchases and lure Pokemon to a specific area. While this is great for brands and retail stores who are driving foot traffic, taking a children’s game – and let’s be honest, this is a children’s game – and enticing people to travel to areas they have never been before can be dangerous.”
“Second, we are way too quick to hand over all our information for the sake of a technology trend. The company that controls the back end of Pokemon Go has access to so much of your information, to include your email. While I don’t have a problem with giving away GPS coordinates because I want to be properly targeted by brands, parents should be weary of letting their kids hand over their entire digital history and future. Also, we live in a world of hackers. I don’t know anything about the security of the company I’m giving away all my information to – to include info that allows me to make purchases.
Ditto assures me that there is a way to make Pokemon Go a fun game for the whole family. “Look, I think this game is great and it is getting people out and about. So, with any new technology trend, parents should find ways to work WITH it. For instance, take the family out and capture Pokemon’s together. It’s good exercise – ie better than sitting around watching TV – and at the end of the day, it’s fun.”
Pokemon Go sounds like a good time but honestly as a mom, I’m not too sure I’m ready to start chasing little monsters around town just yet. Unless of course that little yellow guy is in line at Starbucks. Now that and a good Frappuccino I could get behind.