Now, this post is probably going to be a little different from what I normally write about but seeing as this new Pokemon Go craze is all over the news, I thought I would share my thoughts on it. So I guess this is like a mini review of the Pokemon Go app. Enjoy!
When my partner first started playing this game I was going “Are you serious? That’s a game for kids.” I thought it was completely silly that a fully grown adult was playing this game aimed at kids, until I realised this game is actually for the kids that grew up with Pokemon that are now in their 20’s and 30’s. I was almost NEVER able to get my partner to go for a walk with me on the weekend because it was always too boring. The first weekend he got Pokemon go we walked for 1 and a 1/2 hours on Saturday and almost 2 hours on Sunday. I was in shock. The creators of this app might actually be on to something!
For those who don’t know, Pokemon Go is getting people up and moving. For the app to work you need to walk around and find Pokestops, Gyms and Pokemon. To hatch eggs you need to walk a set distance, which is generally either 2km, 5km or 10km. For years people have been playing games on their phone like Candy Crush and Angry Birds (or is that old school now?) and we now finally have a app that involves physical exercise, hallelujah! We went to a park near our house and oh my goodness, I have never seen that many people out and about, walking around. They were all pretty much with someone else, socialising and meeting up with others who were already there.
Along with this, there have been reports that Pokemon Go is helping people with anxiety and depression. Severe anxiety and depression can make it extremely difficult to leave the house and yet Pokemon Go is giving them a reason, because you’ve gotta catch ’em all.
“For a person suffering from depression or another mood disorder, the idea of exercise can be nearly impossible to contemplate, much less do,” writes Grohol.“For someone suffering from social anxiety, the idea of going outside and possibly bumping into others that may want to talk to you is daunting.”
Dr John Grohol – Psy. D.
I find it completely amazing that an app as simple as this has made a massive difference to some people in such a short amount of time. Obviously scientists can’t prove the effects of Pokemon Go just yet, but I’m sure that over time it will start being monitored. If you want proof search the hashtag #pokemongo on Twitter. The amount of tweets I have seen about Pokemon Go helping their depression or anxiety is crazy!
I heard on the radio on the way to work yesterday morning about a Father who was telling the station how Pokemon go was helping his child who has autism. Since working in childcare I have learnt some things about children with autism. One thing I know for certain though is that routine is very important to them and any change in routine can create a massive meltdown. An academic specialising in autism, Craig Smith, has made two key points about Pokemon Go. Firstly, children with autism benefit from screen apps. They are generally visual learners and respond well to visual stimulus. Secondly, Pokemon creates a common interest, meaning these children are able to interact with their peers because they’ve got something to talk about they are both interested in. This is wonderful because children with autism really struggle to develop social skills so getting out and about is a wonderful opportunity to build those skills. The Father on the radio mentioned how amazed he was when his son asked to go to the park in the afternoon, because that was out of routine. They ended up spending a few hours there, and during that time his son talked to other children about the Pokemon he just caught.
All in all I think Pokemon Go is a wonderful app and if you haven’t already, its worth a try! I even succumbed to the peer pressure of it all and I don’t play games on my phone generally, but I actually find this one quite interesting as I was never into Pokemon as a kid so I kinda feel like I’m getting to relive my childhood in a different way. The only thing that is going to make it bad is if people ‘catch-and-drive’. We don’t need more road accidents so stay smart people!