Through curating these Pokemon Go articles we noticed that the initial reaction was extremely positive but the more negative stories started to appear an article called Pokemon GO, kids and school: a new challenge for parents and teachers provides some Digital Literacy lessons by explaining the media cycle.
— Jennifer M Zosh (@DrZosh) May 8, 2015
Much of the parental advice that we have read highlights the need to train our students and young people to be digitally savvy and safe. Pokemon Go could be a great way for educators to engage partners on the issue of Digital Citizenship
PokemonGo was internationally launched with the arrival of summer vacation for half of the world, meaning the decision to let kids download and use the app was up to parents. News around the world were massively focused on how great augmented reality was, then on how dangerous the game was since users did not pay attention to anything else; then news talked about how families could play together, so it was all good again; and then social media were flooded with messages suggesting our kids would be slaves to the game. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it positive? Is it dangerous? Am I the kind of parent who will ban the use of the game or the kind of parent who does not really care about how the kids play with it? What should we believe?
Children go back to school now and this report is a phenomenal summary of everything important teachers need to know about the game, its virtues and flaws and a set of common-sense recommendations for a balanced, safe use. If only us parents realized how relevant it is that we share that same knowledge. If teachers and parents share a DigCit goal, it will be so much easier for children to grow in a physical environment that encourages a safe and smart digital life. As parents, we may not be experts on VR or AR and maybe we don’t know what Pokemon is (though it’s as old a name as many of us), and we may not care about apps or games or cellphones or digital stuff. But this is the world our children live in, so we should definitely care about them living it well. Children have a first teacher in their parents, so reading this report is basic to create a personal opinion about the game and about a coherent approach to how our families adopt and adapt to technology. The conversation is about safety and health and moderation, but it also about responsibility, collaboration and connection; the report covers it all in detail, puts all perspectives in the box and lets you make your own conclusions. Extremely useful! María Zabala | Communications Advisor | specialist in families and technology | DigCit Parent advocate
— Parent Zone (@TheParentsZone) August 30, 2016
The immersive nature of the game may make some players more trusting of strangers if they are fellow gamers, but children still need to apply the same safety rules that they would use for online gaming.
this feature basically gives people the power to lure a group of kids to a certain spot for 30 minutes, so you’ll need to use your judgement and set rules with your child about how to handle this situation if it occurs.
First of all, the age limit is 13. There is an age gate, and new users are asked to enter their birth date. If your child entered an age under 13, he would have been prompted to get your parental consent
— Rachel Doherty (@tweens2teen) July 11, 2016
Like many new technological things, it can seem like some things will be short lived fads that actually develop into something bigger changing how we live life completely, and I suspect Pokemon GO might just be one of these things.
My area of concentration and expertise is on educating children on how to be safe and appropriate online, essentially being an excellent digital citizen. I also focus on the closely related subject of parenting issues and challenges of raising children in this hyper-digital age. This area involves both parents and educators as the job of educating kids becomes a community effort.
As related to my area of focus, the arrival of Pokemon Go had a tremendous impact. I received numerous questions related to safety, limits and appropriate behavior when engaged, or maybe engrossed, in Pokemon Go. Certainly I addressed the specifics of this game as it relates to safety and children. However, the underlying foundation of educating children on digital citizenship remains consistent across the many many applications that exist and that is for parents and educators to do the following:
- Understand the app that is being used. What are the issues? How does it work? Are there safety/privacy settings. Parents/educators must educate themselves on where children are spending their time and what they are doing online.
- Build credibility with the children. If parents/educators understand the app and can speak the language, they can gain credibility with their audience, children. Talk to kids about being a trainer, about the location of Pokestops, the use of Lures, Squirtle. Charizard, etc. If the adult does not have credibility, the education process cannot take place.
- Engage the child. The key to success in educating children on any topic is to engage them and peak their interest. Obviously this will keep them interested in the subject matter. But most importantly, it will take an abstract concept (digital citizenship) and make it more concrete for the student. It allows for connections to be made in their brains from the abstract concept to how it relates to them. Application of concepts become much easier for them.
How does this relate to Pokemon Go? I see this as a tremendous educational opportunities for many students, but not all. Based on #3 above, Pokemon Go engages the child and provides educators and parents with some exciting ways to make less interesting learning far more exciting. In Marialice’s blog, she cites some wonderful activities that use Pokemon Go as the content, but engage the student to write, be creative, story tell, etc. Edtech can also be greatly engaged. For example, have the student developed a Prezi and present to the class on a topic of choice, i.e. the history of a Pokestop, the 5 most interesting Pokestops, etc. Liz Repking | Principal | Cyber Safety Consulting