Friday, July 29, 2016

Pokémon Go

During the holidays advertisers really ramp up their marketing to our kids hoping they will ask for the latest trend for Christmas.  Last year it was hover boards.  Then we heard about some catching on fire, others being injured from falls and whatnot.   While we realize that there’s a risk to everything in life there are some things as parents we can control!

The latest hit is Pokémon Go.  Appealing because it is a free virtual reality game that kids can play on their cell phones.  You’ve probably also heard the latest stories of people walking off cliffs while playing the game, being shot at for trespassing or you being inundated with requests to go to places like McDonald’s. 

Niantic, the game creator of Pokémon Go can offer the game for free because corporations pay a sponsorship fee to have their sites as locations to find the creatures in the game.  Every McDonald’s in Japan is loaded as a hotspot and as players arrive marketing begins.  For the under 13 crowd, McDonald’s hotspots market Happy Meals to them.  So if they’re not eating when you serve dinner, it may be because they’ve already chowed down at McD’s.

Kids under 13 can be especially vulnerable playing the game not only with enticements for junk food but not paying attention to the world around them.  This can set them up for a variety of risks.  While we don’t want our kids to fear everything, we do want them to be aware and not distracted.  But there is good news: kids are walking while doing screen time so they’re getting in some exercise!

Registration for the game requires you to provide your birthdate….this gives the advertisers the ability to know just who to market to.  

If you would like to see marketing limitations placed on the game for our kids consider signing a petition at

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