Using Pokemon to Connect Families

By: Jonathan Pishner

Everywhere I go, I see groups of people out, scanning with their phones, looking for Pokemon. It’s absolutely incredible how quickly this game has exploded.

One of the most amazing things this game has created is the opportunity to connect with others, in an age where we often don’t connect well. People who are used to sitting inside for their entertainment are now going out into the community, walking around, meeting and interacting with new people.

But one other thing I see a lot of is this: families outdoors, spending time together, having a great time catching Pokemon.

One of the major problems with kids who play too many video games is that they lose a lot of opportunities to enjoy meeting new people, the joy of movement and being outside, and connecting with their family or friends. They can even have problems with communication because they do it so rarely. For right now, because of Pokemon Go, those barriers are temporarily removed. The game itself rewards all of these activities.

That means that for you as a parent, this is a great opportunity for you to build an even better relationship with your child, and expose them to things they’ve been missing.

Here are some ways you can connect with your kids using Pokemon Go:

Note: I’m going to reference some things you won’t get if you’ve never seen the game, so if you need to know a little about the game itself, click here.

  1. Play the game with them. Families who play and have fun together usually report more closeness and more satisfaction in their relationships. But don’t just be an observer. It works better if you’re playing too. If you have a smart phone, you can download Pokemon GO for free. It’s very simple and there is almost no learning curve. Look for Pokemon, find Pokemon, catch Pokemon. But if you have trouble with any of it, you can….
  2. Let your child teach you. Parents spend almost all of their time teaching their children. When you turn that script upside down and let them teach you, it provides all kinds of benefits. It helps them increase their communication, learn patience, and you can model appropriate, non-frustrated learning for them. Most kids are so excited about this game that it takes very little effort to have them teach someone new.
  3. Go new places together. Pokemon GO rewards people for visiting their local landmarks and places of interest. Many people are discovering things in their community that they didn’t even know were there. When you go to these new places with your children, it creates shared memories, and that is becoming a rarer thing in an age of sitting in front of screens at home.
  4. Make the household a team. In this game, some people choose to join a team and “fight” other Pokemon. This is a game where children can actually be on the same team with their parents, because both young and old can have roughly equal skill, and that’s rare. Consider that usually most parents would crush their children at chess or checkers, and kids would dominate playing most video games. But in this game, both parties can be engaged and interested, and both parents and children can be on the same team. This is a great opportunity to model how to be a good winner or a gracious loser.

These are a few of the benefits that you as a parent might experience if you choose to play Pokemon Go with your child. For many children, this is the first time in a LONG time that they have wanted to go and play outside. Right now, while this game is wildly popular, you have a ready-made chance to connect and play with your child, and even go new places, despite the fact that you’re playing a video game.


Disclaimer: Remember, all things in moderation. We don’t advocate any activity or use that gets in the way of work, school, or other responsibilities. We only suggest that you use this as much as necessary to help you to create the life you want.

Photo: “Pokemon Go” by Eduardo Woo / is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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