Singaporeans who have been waiting patiently for the game to be formally launched in our little red dot can finally rejoice – the game is now available for aspiring Pokemon masters here. If you’re not aware of what the craze is all about, it might be good for you to understand what it is because believe it or not, if your child has a smartphone of his own, he’s going to want to play it.
It has taken the world by storm, with people of all ages exploring their cities while looking for and “capturing” Pokemons. The game uses a technology known as augmented reality, which is a blend of real life and technology. A reporter was even caught playing it during a State Department briefing in the US (and was embarrassingly called out for his behaviour by a State Department spokesman).
The Singapore Police Force (SPF), Public Utilities Board (PUB) and National Gallery Singapore are among many other agencies that have urged the public to place their safety first. In other countries where the game was launched earlier, injuries associated with the playing of the game have been reported.
Here are some things you need to be aware of:
- Familiarity with the game
Knowing what the game is about can help you protect your child. With an increasingly technology-driven world, your child lives in an environment where fun is where the technology is most engaging – and for now, this is proving to be the most fun and innovative piece of technology available to the public. It would be good to download the game and understand what it is about so that you can better protect your child. Prohibiting him from playing the game without knowing what it is about might result in him turning to his friends to play the game secretly, and this is something you’d definitely want to know about.
- Play the game with your child Now that you’ve downloaded the game, play it together with your child so that you can monitor his behaviour and also use the opportunity to teach him how to be safe while doing so. If you are not available, arrange for someone else to be chaperone. While playing the game, you’ll find yourself in places (gyms and Pokéstops in the gameplay) where there will be other strangers around too. It is important that your child knows how to deal with strangers and what to do when approached by one.
- Establish boundaries If your child is old enough to be walking around on his own, make sure to establish rules of behaviour such as curfew, places he cannot go on his own (limiting him to the neighbourhood can allow you to track him better), and things he cannot do such as going off on Pokemon hunts with strangers.
- The danger of the lure
The lure module is used to attract wild Pokémon to a PokéStop for a limited time. Anyone playing the game around that same area can benefit from the lure as they will be alerted when someone sets up the lure module. Imagine what a child predator can do with this piece of technology – lure your child to a Pokéstop while using bait for Pokemon. Scary.
- In-app purchases
According to Symantec:
“This game, like other games does have in-app purchases to buy things like Pokécoins and other various powerups. In this case, it’s probably a good idea to put on parental controls that help control in-app spending.
- For iOS, Apple has a feature called “Ask to Buy,” that will alert you to whenever a family member initiates a new purchase or free download. You are then able to control what they purchase from your own device.
- The Google Play Store has an option to turn on authentication when making in-app purchases. This means that certain information, like a password, must be entered on your device to make a purchase.”
Like all other games, Pokemon Go can be a pretty fun and harmless game if every one playing it puts safety first. Would you allow your child to play it?