It wasn’t even a week ago that my kids discovered the new Pokemon Go app (I wrote about it in Parents here). I watched them run around the corner excited and laughing, following their phones to discover the hidden Pokemon lurking all over our neighborhood.
I walked with them, amused and happy. My boys were engaged in an outdoor activity and getting along – no one was hitting anyone with a stick, no one was taking the ball away from anyone, and no one was crying that his brother cheated at something. I didn’t even mind that their devices were at the center of their attention. It still felt like a huge step up from them ignoring me while staring at our X-box in the basement. We were outside in the sun, wandering around and bonding like a family.
It seemed everyone we saw, from kids to moms to teens to grown men were all playing this game. Even when we went to dinner, we ran into waiters on break doing the same. It felt strangely like the world had gotten a bit smaller and we were all on the same team. Although as my son reminds me, there are different teams – blue, yellow and red.
I loved everything about the app last Saturday, Sunday and Monday. We strolled, we talked, we caught Pokemon, meeting friends and making friends all doing the same. But by Tuesday my boys, already pros, figured some ways to cheat, or at least how to cut down on the exercise part of the game, my favorite part.
“Hey Mom,” My middle son asked, “It’s kind of hot out. Why don’t you drive us down to the water, and we’ll walk around. And then we can drive to the library and then to the train station.”
These were all Poke hot spots to get free stuff. I eyed him skeptically but his big green eyes gave nothing away. It was kind of hot out. “Okay,” I conceded and they all cheered.
We drove to the water and my boys had me drive back and forth in the parking lot and then back around the block – Go left! No other left! Keep Going! You missed it! Go back! – The phone glitching a number of times before they were all satisfied that they had received adequate Poke loot. Next we head off to the library where they walked around the parking lot for a full three minutes before jumping back in the car. “Done,” My oldest announced, “Take us to the train station.”
“Excuse me?” I said, annoyed. We were no longer bonding. I had become the chauffer being bossed around, pretty much my typical life.
“No!” My youngest suddenly cried. “Mine isn’t loading!! I didn’t get anything!” He made a lot of grunting and whiny noises as I drove around in circles trying to find a good spot to help his phone – I mean my freaking phone! – work.
“Let’s just go,” My oldest compassionately suggested and my youngest screamed at him. After ten minutes of 8 year-old meltdown, the ridiculously overloaded server kicked in.
With the app reloaded and my youngest receiving an egg, some balls and yet another Pidgey; the Pokemon that needs some birth control since they are literally everywhere – “Mom! Don’t move there’s a Pidgey on your back!” – We head to the train station, a center spot in town.
My children run here and there collecting free stuff, capturing some Pokemon and almost running into people, while I yell for them to be careful of the street. It is around 5pm and others lurk doing the same. You can spot them immediately, hovering over their phone in little groups or staring at it as it directs them. There is also a ‘Gym’ at the train station. My boys have announced that it is weak and they are all excited to take it over.
“Guys we have to go,” I say, dampening the fun but I am hot and tired and needing to get home and start dinner. They ignore me, loitering near a grown man in a wrinkled suit tapping his cell madly.
“We’ll just stay here at the Gym,” my oldest says. “Pick us up when you’re done.”
It’s not a Gym I want to yell. It’s the middle of a street! And you are stalking a strange man! And I want my phone! “No,” I say calmly. “We’ve had enough Pokemon for right now. It’s time to go.”
My youngest starts whining. “My game froze again! They got so much more guys than me!”
“To the car!” I command and they grudgingly follow.
We repeat this experience all week; them obsessed, nagging and begging, and me driving with phones glitching, batteries dying and them whining and crying in frustration.
Then there are all these stories out there of people getting robbed or walking into trees, but I honestly don’t think there’s any real danger. The app is awesome, creative and fun, but I do worry a bit that this craze has obsessively overtaken my children and my town. It’s like a cult of zombies out there – Must find Pokemon!
I really wouldn’t mind if the app would just Go away, but it seems I stand alone. Everyone else is out finding Pokemon.
And while you’re waiting for your kids to lift their heads, check out my book, Secrets of the Suburbs – the perfect sexy fun beach read! – available on Amazon. Just click HERE! And… Murder Across the Street, click HERE. Yes! The suburbs are crazy! Sex, Murder and Pokemon, Oh my!
I have been noticing the same thing with my kids. It does seem that now driving to places is a ‘great” way to find things. Not really what I loved about the game. I have to say I would not mind if it went away either! Lol!
And the server?? I mean can it go down anymore?? Seriously we spend more time looking for service or waiting for the game to load..
My son was a Pokemon nut in the 90’s. Now he’s doing this. Pokemon go away is right!
I had just successfully shoved all the cards and crap to the back of the closet. But now… they’re baaack…
Wow. My kids aren’t into this, thankfully. I’m glad it’s keeping them sort of happy and outdoors, but still, yikes. Read a book outside maybe. Much less hassle! 🙂
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This is my life!!! Hysterical.
yup! see you round the wharf!! haha!
Yes. I feel the same way. Your words sound like I wrote that blog myself! Have you been watching me and my two boys. Wow, really funny. Seriously, everything u wrote about sounds like me. Funny stuff . We now sometimes have to lie and tell kids the servers are down at the park in order to just stay in one night. It is exhausting.
It’s crazy. It has quickly gone from adorable to really annoying. I’m just waiting for the server to explode and we can go back to quietly playing video games in the basement! haha!
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Your mistake is in having kids who can’t drive yet! My kids said, “Hey, Mom, we’re going to Gig Harbor to go Pokemon hunting, want to come?” So I got a trip to a pretty waterfront town, did some shopping, and my daughter bought me a smoothie. We walked around while my young adults caught Pokemon and I enjoyed the sunshine (unlike most of the country, it’s been cloudy most of the summer in Washington state).
Yes, too bad they don’t give out licenses to 11 year olds!! 😉 I know, Maybe I could get your young adults to babysit my boys and then we could get smoothies!!! Done! 🙂
Oh my… I didn’t really grasp this game until now… I can see how quickly the fun stopped for you…It is sad. Everyone already had their heads buried in their phones before, often almost walking into cars. Now it is worse… UGH!!