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Pokémon Go Parents' Guide

Our Jacksonville lawyers offers the parents' guide to safe Pokémon Go playing.

Many parents remember the original Pokémon craze of the mid-1990s. There were Pokémon video games, trading cards, and even a television show, all centering around the game’s pocket-sized monsters, which could be caught to accumulate points.

Back then, players hunted the monsters via their video game console’s screen or by collecting and trading cards with friends. Now, a new generation of players is taking advantage of advances in technology to make hunting the fantasy creatures more like reality.

Pokémon Go has become all the rage in Florida and throughout the United States. It is increasingly difficult to go anywhere in public without noticing players staring at their cellphone, engrossed in the game and their pursuit. At the same time, there has been an increasing number of accidents and injuries associated with the game, with potentially serious ramifications.

At Pajcic & Pajcic, we are a family-oriented law firm and take particular interest in issues that could jeopardize your child’s safety. Our Pokémon Go Parents’ Guide is devised to help you share in the fun of playing with your family, while making you aware of the ways you can help keep them safe.

Pokémon Go Demographics: Who Is Playing?

According to a Forbes report on Pokémon Go, there were 25 million daily users in mid-July of this year. Created by Japanese video game producer Niantic Labs and trademarked by Nintendo, it is available as a smartphone app and has millions of people playing on a daily basis. While the app itself is free, players can make in-app purchases to gain more features and premium items.

Demographics listed by Forbes on who is playing reveal the following:

  • While video games are traditionally more popular with males than females, Pokémon Go is bucking that trend. More than 60 percent of players are female.
  • While gamers between the ages of 18 and 29 make up nearly 50 percent of Pokémon Go’s demographic, those under the age of 18 are also getting in on the action. Nearly a quarter of those now playing are between the ages of 13 and 17.
  • Data is not collected on users under the age of 13, but based on the popularity of cellphone apps and games in general with this age group, it can be assumed that these users represent a significant percentage of players.

Should You Let Your Kids Play Pokémon Go?

While parents may enjoy playing Pokémon Go themselves, should they allow their children to play? According to a CNN report on Pokémon Go safety concerns, while chasing virtual reality monsters can be a great way to get your children up and moving around, it can also pose a significant risk for injuries.

Children, as well as adults, can easily become distracted during play, leading to bicycle and pedestrian accidents, as well as slips, trips and falls. Injuries associated with these types of accidents can be severe, and include the following:

  • Muscle strains, sprains, and tears
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Severe cuts and lacerations requiring stitches
  • Back and neck injuries, including damage to the spinal cord
  • Head injuries, including skull fractures, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

In addition to accidental injuries, playing Pokémon Go could increase your child’s risk of becoming a victim of violent crime. CNN reports that while striking up conversations and interacting with random players can be a fun part of the game, it is important for parents to emphasize the rules regarding “stranger danger” to protect children against potential harm.

Safety Tips for Playing Pokémon Go with Your Kids

One of the best ways for parents to address Pokémon Go safety concerns may be by grabbing their own smartphones and engaging in play along with their child. As a shared activity, it can be a great way to have fun exploring your neighborhood and town, while ensuring your child stays safe from harm. The whole family can get involved in friendly competition to see who can achieve the highest score, while emphasizing teamwork in terms of spotting Pokémon monsters to share with other family members.

Of course, you cannot be with your child at every moment, and there are certainly going to be times when they would rather play with friends. In these situations, the following safety tips from Mobile Nations can help parents ensure their young gamers are playing Pokémon Go safely:

  • Establish boundaries – Make clear rules for places where children are allowed to go hunting for Pokémon that are away from busy roads or traffic, and set time limits for when they are to return home.
  • Stay safe at night – Young children should not be allowed to go out by themselves after dark, and older children should be sure to wear brightly colored and reflective clothing, while using the flashlight function of their phone to see where they are going.
  • Walk instead of biking – Playing Pokémon Go is a distraction, and should not be allowed while your child is biking or riding a scooter or skateboard.
  • Go in groups – Encourage your child to use the buddy system when playing, and encourage them to play with other children or as part of a team.
  • Protect their identity – Make sure your child does not use their real name when setting up a Pokémon Go account, and use a dummy email instead of their school or personal email address.

Be sure and warn children about the potential dangers of encountering strangers while they are out, and advise them to stay in well lit, open places when playing. Make sure their cellphone is adequately charged, and provide bottled water for them to take along on the hunt.

Reach Out to Us for Assistance

At the Law Firm of Pajcic & Pajcic, we care about your family and their well-being. When an accident or injury occurs, contact our Jacksonville lawyers right away to get the caring, comprehensive legal service you need. We are equipped provide aggressive representation to protect your rights and interests, and can advise you on how to hold responsible parties accountable for the damages they have caused.

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