Writer  /  Kate Rhoten

Here it is, the end of summer, and many kids are preparing to go back to school in a couple weeks. In the last week and a half, I have seen more children outside walking than I did the entire rest of the summer.

Have you noticed? Do you have teens that like to play video games? Did they have Pokémon cards when they were younger? Are they one of the many children that have smartphones that allow them to play games?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you must be a parent with a child that has been playing Pokémon Go on their phone. I have to admit, at first, I didn’t get it. I am not a gamer or one that plays a lot of games on my phone. Don’t get me wrong, I play some but typically not IMG_11511the games my boys play.

The term Pokémon Walks has been coined in our household. Since the game came out, the boys want to go walk around and find Pokémon.

The other night, we went downtown to have dinner. The boys wanted to play Pokémon Go, and even their dad had downloaded it. I was skeptical, but after a while, the boys convinced me to download it and join in the fun.

In a couple of hours, I had collected many Pokémon. I moved from level to level, and by the time the night was done, I was at level 6. Now, this is not an acknowledgment of my interest to keep playing long-term, but there certainly were some benefits.

One benefit was the interaction with the boys and to know exactly what they were doing. I was witness to the two collaborating and trying to determine which path to take to get to the next Poké-stop.

Another benefit is that they were outdoors. Most of the games my boys have played are on the Xbox console. That is definitely one system for sitting indoors and playing alone or with friends. Pokémon Go requires one to go outside and explore.

As a family, how often can you play the same game and spend time together without an argument ensuing? This is not like other games where you would be attempting to beat an opponent. It’s a good blend of individual fun in a group setting.

As a mom, it makes my heart happy to see them get outdoors, hear them help each other and be excited for their captures as well as see them just get along. These are the moments that help build and strengthen their relationship ahead of adulthood.

This may be a short-term interest, maybe not. But I did tell my guys to always be together and be aware of their surroundings. Despite the news regarding crimes against players of Pokémon Go and people getting hurt from not being alert, I still want my boys to play. The benefits of this game outweigh the few instances of negative situations.

Have your kids played Pokémon Go? If you have not joined in with them, give it a go. Explore a new area together. You might have some fun, get some exercise and create new memories.    

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