Is Pokemon Go Good For You?

I admit it.  I play Pokemon Go.  My 14-year-old son does too.

There are so many memes on Facebook and Twitter about this game.  It is the most downloaded app of all time in its first week after release, according to Apple.  Everyone seems to be out chasing Pikachu and Squirtle and collecting Pokeballs in their spare time.  Churches are complaining because they have been established as Pokestops and Pokemon Gyms.  Restaurants and video game stores are wondering how they can arrange to get a Pokestop at their location.

After downloading the game almost 2 weeks ago, after dealing with server crashes and app freezes galore, I have three thoughts about the game from a health standpoint.

It rewards the player for being more active

I’ve noticed my step counts have gone up pretty significantly since I downloaded the game.  On my lunch break I’m much more likely to get outside for a 20-minute walk than before Pokemon Go.  Hatching eggs that I’ve collected requires me to walk 2, 5 or 10 kilometers while “incubating” the egg.

It gets people outside and socializing with others in person

There are 3 Pokestops in the square across from my family’s martial arts studio in Twinsburg, and two on the perimeter of the park.  That’s 5 Pokestops within a very short walking distance.

I have never seen so many teens, twentysomethings and families with young children in this park in my life.  Everybody is walking around catching Pokemon and chatting and laughing with each other.

I’ve had friends inviting others on Facebook to meet at certain locations to play Pokemon Go after work and on weekends.  While walking in the Metroparks it’s common to come across a pair or small group of friends walking together with their phones in their hands.  The common question is “Catch anybody good?”

There is a downside so be smart!

Anything new that happens is an opportunity for someone to explore new levels of stupid.  We’ve all heard about people walking off cliffs, driving into walls, and stopping their car in the middle of a busy street to catch an elusive Pokemon.

It goes without saying that people should not be staring at their phones while driving.  The app even warns you as you are waiting for it to load to stay aware of your surroundings:

Pokemon Go loading screen

Pokemon Go loading screen

Be careful where you and your children are going, and be with someone trustworthy at all times.  Don’t accept requests to meet to catch Pokemon from someone you don’t know well.  Bad guys are known to take advantage of new opportunities to snooker people.

As long as people are careful where they go and who they are with, I think Pokemon Go is awesome and a very healthy game to play.  You can’t just camp out on the treadmill and hatch your eggs, you have to actually be moving so that Google Maps can see you’re moving.

Fresh air, sunshine and other people are good for you!  If Pokemon Go gets you and your teenager(s) out of the house and away from the TV, I’m all for it!

Go catch some Pokemon!

QUESTION: Have you downloaded the game?  What has your experience been?


One thought on “Is Pokemon Go Good For You?

  1. A bunch of us have downloaded PokemonGo and we’re having a great time getting out and catching Pokemon! We have met a lot of people and have explored some new places 🙂

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