Not sure about whether to give in to the Pokemon Go craze, mama? A former skeptic explains why she’s reluctantly hopped on the bandwagon, and has actually enjoyed getting outsider her mama comfort zone
“Mummy [sweetly], what time are you going for your walk? I want to come along”, asks the pre-teen.
Excuse me? What did you just say? Walk? With me? Instead of playing with your friends? Instead of being glued to Minecraft?
“Yes mummy [even more sweetly]…to catch Pokemons!” “I’m coming too”, shouted the couch-potato-phone-addicted-teenager. I was so shell-shocked I didn’t go for a walk that day.!
Pokemon Go is the new buzz and yet another ‘screen addiction’. All mamas try to limit screen time, ban screen time, reduce screen time — basically try whatever they can to keep the kids away from the screens. And I too, am (or at least try to be) one of them.
But now, this newbie on the screen was at least getting the kids outdoors, and so it seemed worth further investigation. So we embarked on a hunt. The outing was akin to an adventure trail – an amazing race – not with any destination in mind but being mindful of what was in the path. The best way out was to get the kids to be the ‘teachers’ and understand everything they knew about the game. So here are some of my mama learnings (and how I plan to use them to my advantage!):
Get them to move!
The super-smart teens suggested a bus ride to cover more distance, collect more, and incubate their acquired eggs, not realising the perils in the process – bus moving too fast, GPS connectivity dropping, lags and snags in the app, PokeStops being out of reach. Many a PokeStop/ Pokemon was missed and 6+ kms was recorded as half a km on the egg incubator. Sorry girls! You want Pokemons? Start walking as it’s the best option.
Insight: Use the bus to collect the goodies from PokeStops on the way and then get off at ‘high public footfall’ places to explore and collect on foot. Then walk, walk and walk until a pitstop is needed. And then start walking again! Exercise done for the day! When tired, take a bus home and collect Poke ammunition on the way back (and maybe a Pokemon or two as well). It was probably the ONLY TIME the kids wanted to continue walking.
I have decided to be the ‘good mama’ and take the kids Pokemon hunting and be the ‘bad mamma’ and take advantage whilst this game-addiction lasts to take them walking to all the places they have earlier refused and termed as ‘so boring’: Mount Faber Park, Ann Siang Hill, Changi Coastal Walk…here we come!
PokeStops = educational? Nah? Yah!
Walking about like headless chickens following the Pikachu Pied Piper, it struck me that most of these are places of historical, religious, and cultural importance. Did the pre-teen know of the existence of the Synagogue on Oxley Rise? The War Memorial Park? The importance of the Cathay Building? Earlier, no! Now, yes! Thanks to Pokemon Go!
And so, we have a new mama-kid deal: each trip of Pokemon hunting (only on the weekends, and weekdays by exception) is followed by a discussion on the new ‘sites’ seen.
Gadget Games – a Bane or Boon?
Mamas sit divided on two sides of the seesaw: Pokemon Yes and Pokemon No. I started off on the ‘No’ team, where technology is becoming the rogue in our lives through kids’ gadget addictions, and then realised a couple of things about pre-teens/ teens
- They are Gen Y, where technology is the means to several ends. We cannot escape it.
- Technology can either break families (through personal gadget addiction) or bond families when used together. I, too, had fun during the hunt with elaborate discussions on which PokeStop, what Pokemon, what CP (Combat Power), which Gym, and now…… I can’t wait to witness a combat in a Gym! It was a situation of mama being the ignorant one and kids being the experts, a role reversal that was highly welcomed.
Truly, when you can’t stop them, join them and enjoy the togetherness. Of course monitor them in the process…and don’t forget to keep tabs on the amount of data they use on your phone!