Just to make it clear, my last blog was not an endorsement of a particular game, as much as it was an endorsement of a parenting principle. I think I made it clear that my objective in playing the game was not for the game itself but for my relationship with my kids.
Several parents have asked if it is ok for their kids to play Pokemon Go. While I don’t have a direct answer to that, here are some guiding principles I would like to share:
1. Know what games your children are playing and do your research. I have seen varied reactions to Pokemon Go, from it being fun and harmless to being evil and demonic. To be honest, I have played Pokemon Go several times and haven’t seen anything that might cause me to ban the game from our home. At least not yet. But when I do, I will surely talk to my kids about it.
2. Any kind of game or toy, for that matter, has the potential to have a negative effect on your children. Whether it’s Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds or Pokemon Go, any game can consume your child in an unhealthy way. Any game can lead to an addiction. Be observant and make sure that the game your child is playing doesn’t affect his priorities, his behavior and his performance in school. Know when something is too much and don’t be afraid to say “enough.”
3. Educate your kids on the right safety precautions. As with any other online games, remind your child not to give personal information or their identity to anyone. When they come across other players that they haven’t met before, remind them those are strangers and they cannot go or do anything with them without your permission. They need to always be aware of their surroundings and where they’re going.
4. Never leave your kids on autopilot. Always monitor their physical and online activities. Know their whereabouts at all times. Don’t assume that your kids will always do what they are expected to. So stay involved in their lives. Keep training them in the ways and Word of God so they will know what to accept and reject in their lives. Never let anything lord over them except Jesus.
5. Always pray for discernment. As parents, we need God’s wisdom to know what to allow our children to play with, to watch, to go to. A game that’s completely harmless to one child might not necessarily be so with another child. What’s okay for one family might not necessarily be ok for another. I think parents should use their own discernment. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in the decisions you make for your children.