If your kid is old enough to operate a smartphone, they're probably already obsessed with Pokemon Go—the GPS-based augmented reality game that's been sweeping the planet as kids and grownups alike venture out into the world to capture their favorite animated pocket monsters. It uses real world locations to get players to explore their surroundings in search of digital creatures and treasures.
In its short existence (the game has been out for two weeks as of this writing), Pokemon Go has become a powerful tool for getting people off the couch and on their feet. But if pop culture has taught us anything, it's that with great power comes great responsibility.
So if your kid tells you they gotta catch 'em all, just make sure they follow these safety tips.
Set Boundaries1 of 8
If your child's going on a Pokemon adventure alone, make sure to set up appropriate physical boundaries based on their age and what you're comfortable with. For example, tell them to stay on the street, within three blocks of home or just in the neighborhood.
Make sure your child respects and stays within the boundaries you set, no matter how close that Jigglypuff may be.
Use the Buddy System2 of 8
If it works for field trips, then it can work in the field. If you're not comfortable letting your child wander the streets in search of Pokemon alone, have them go with a friend, sibling or even you.
Playing Pokemon Go together can also enhance the gaming experience, as players can battle each other when they find a Gym.
Stay Hydrated3 of 8
When kids get crazy obsessed with something, it can be easy for them to ignore when their body is shutting down because, OMG! There's a Pikachu!
Especially when your kids have so much extra free time during the summer months, make sure they're keeping themselves properly hydrated with regular water breaks.
Travel Safely4 of 8
If your kid utilizes a bike, skateboard, scooter or any alternate mode of transportation on his or her Pokemon expeditions, make sure they obey the "no texting, while driving" rule.
Also, make certain they keep their eyes on the road and not on their phone when operating anything with wheels (or walking in general).
Wear Bug Spray5 of 8
Just because the creatures your child is chasing are fictional doesn't mean there aren't real critters outside to be wary of. Ward off mosquitos and other pests with a little bug spray to ensure your kids don't come back with an itch.
Be Careful What You Post Online6 of 8
Just to be on the safe side, make sure your kids don't post their current location or where they're going next on social media while playing Pokemon Go.
Tell them they can brag about their trophy catches as soon as they're safe and sound at home.
Set Time Limits7 of 8
As great as the active and social aspects of a game like Pokemon Go are, it still requires staring at a screen and engaging in a fictional universe for a considerable amount of time.
If you already put limits on your child's video game or TV time, you may want to place restrictions on this play time, too. But we recommend a little extra leniency with this one since they're getting exercise at the same time.